Tuesday night (Nov. 18) was my first trip to Reggie’s, a club I’ve been meaning to check out for the past year or so. It’s encouraging to see new rock venues popping up around Chicago lately, many of them out beyond the North Side neighborhoods that have dominated the concert scene for so long. Reggie’s is on the South Side, a short walk from the Chinatown/Cermak stop on the Red Line. It’s a cool room, with a comfortable balcony that actually has decent views of the stage. What a concept.
I was at Reggie’s to see No Age and Titus Andronicus. I’ve heard wildly divergent opinions of No Age, but I’d never seen the band until now. I appreciated No Age’s scrappy energy as the drum-and-guitar duo slammed through its songs, and the crowd clearly appreciated it, too, moshing like mad. Having only listened a little bit to the No Age album Nouns beforehand, however, I had trouble perceiving the songs underneath the noise.
I’m a bigger fan of the opening act, Titus Andronicus. I saw this band at the Pitchfork Music Fest this summer without knowing anything about them, and came away wowed by their rambunctious spirit. Since then, I’ve been listening to their debut, The Airing of Grievances, a rough-hewn rock record. The noisiness of the riffs may seem like punk rock, but it often sounds to me more like amped-up folk rock or garage Nuggets. Those strains came through during Tuesday’s show, as the band sang songs about Abraham Lincoln, blowed mightily away on harmonica, caterwauled (in a good way) and catapulted around the stage. As far as I’m concerned, they stole the show from No Age.