Review: Titus Andronicus w/ Country Westerns at Mississippi Studios

Taking the stage at Mississippi Studios Saturday night was Titus Andronicus, fronted by Patrick Stickles and joined by mainstays Liam Betson, R.J. Gordon, Chris Wilson, and featuring contributions from keyboardist Michael Carson. The band is touring in support of their latest release The Will to Live, which has received widespread acclaim as the band’s strongest release since their 2015 sprawling opus The Most Lamentable Tragedy.

Joining Titus Andronicus on this leg of the tour were Nashville based bar-rockers Country Westerns, whose comforting throwback to 80’s era power-pop you could imagine fitting right at home alongside the Replacements at Minneapolis’ historic CC Club.

The New Jersey stalwarts, notably happy to be in Portland for the first time since the pandemic, played highlights from their latest release as well as a satisfying mix of fan favorites and crowd pleasers alike pulled from almost every corner of their increasingly impressive 7 LP catalog (including Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ and the evergreen punk anthem A More Perfect Union).

It wouldn’t be a Titus show without a nod or two to the band’s influences, whom they are never too shy to proudly wear on their sleeve, and the night’s closing number, a fiery run-through of the Springsteen classic Glory Days delivered as the satisfying cap on a night that demonstrates the confidence the band has comfortably realized in their second decade. Finding a balance between the “black denim and PBR” energy of the band’s earlier efforts and the Heartland rock inspired records from recent years, the raucous exuberance and the band’s lifer integrity keeps Titus Andronicus a no-brainer show for any rock fan.