|Shane MacGowan of The Pogues|
Titus Andronicus took the stage at 9 p.m. to a largely oblivious audience. “Hello: We’re Titus Andronicus from Glen Rock, New Jersey," mumbled Patrick Stickles, before blasting into the seven-minute opening track “A More Perfect Union” from their most recent album The Monitor. Those there for the New Jersey punks were pogoing and shoving before the first words ever came out of Stickles’ mouth. By the end of the first stanza, they were screaming every word, beckoning “Tramps like us: Baby we were born to die!” before diving into a sing-song version of the screeching guitar part of the epic track.
By the end of Titus’s last song (of the nine they played), “Four Score And Seven,” there was a clear age - and scene - division in the crowd. Fans of The Pogues seemed as if they were angering with the Titus fans, creating a several-person barrier between where the Andronicus crowd (a disappointingly small amount of people, all in a circle toward the front, center area of the pit) was and the rest of the concert-goers. Perhaps the spirit of punk wasn’t as largely in effect as The Pogues had hoped when choosing their opening band, but Stickles and co. were still at the top of their game.
And then, nearly two hours later, The Pogues took the stage. Lead singer Shane MacGowan stumbled onstage, clutching several red cups filled with whatever his booze of choice is, with the other members close behind. With a few unintelligible words and an inappropriate gesture, MacGowan set his band in motion, launching into fan favorites “Streams of Whiskey” and “If I Should Fall From Grace With God."
Despite their true-to-the-record renditions of old Pogues songs from Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash and such, The Pogues seemed a little too karaoke for the image they are supposed to portray. MacGowan’s antics are interesting at first, but then they seemed to alienate the audience, almost to the point of pity.
Throughout the night, there were frequent reminders of how long this band has been around. Although they were as fresh and tight as they could possibly be at this point, The Pogues fell, tragically, short. After twenty-some songs, ending with "Fiesta," the band left the stage, thoroughly upstaged by their stellar opener.
“A Parting Glass With The Pogues” seemed an entirely appropriate title for Thursday’s show, despite the fervent enthusiasm of the band’s cult-like following.
Click here for the full setlist from The Pogues' performance.
Check out more show reviews:
The Island of Misfit Toys at Schubas
Akron/Family at Lincoln Hall
Dropkick Murphys at Congress Theater
Murder by Death at Subterranean
Justin Townes Earle at Metro