Indie rock, like every other genre of music, has its rules, its code and its strictures. No one should pretend this is not the case. Frank Zappa once famously addressed an audience comprised of his era’s hipsters thus: “Every single person here is wearing a uniform, don’t kid yourselves.” His point remains: Even those who seek to define themselves in opposition to the mainstream and the status quo end up forming a clique of some sort, usually one defined more by what its members don’t believe in than in what they do.
With indie rock, the armor separating “us” from “them” is comprised of irony and cynicism. Making fun of everything you don’t like makes you feel superior. Viewing everything through the lens of irony also prevents you from looking stupid by displaying genuine emotions in real time. A snarky, judgmental attitude is de rigueur.
Someone forgot to inform New Jersey indie-rock outfit Titus Andronicus of these rules, however. Since 2005, the band has been storming the gates of the Pitchfork.com-patrolled hipster fortress on the strength of a heart-on-sleeve, sprawling, emotion-drenched brand of post-punk that has much more in common with Joe Strummer and the Clash’s blunt force emotionalism than with the snotty ennui of much of the band’s peer group.
Fans and critics differ on what Titus Andronicus’ crowning achievement to date has been, but for my money, it’s album No. 2, 2010’s “The Monitor,” a record with a loosely constructed Civil War theme that sounds like the Clash, the Pogues, the Hold Steady and the E Street Band jamming after imbibing a few beers too many.
Whatever Titus album they hold most dear, fans will surely agree that the opportunity to catch the band in an intimate area club like the Tralf Music Hall is far too enticing to pass up.
Titus Andronicus performs at 8 p.m. Monday in the Tralf (622 Main St.). Lost Boy and Mallwalkers will open. Tickets are $12 advance, $14 day of show (box office, Ticketmaster).
The Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.), presents Binghamton’s old-timey folk/new-time rock ’n’ roll hybrid Driftwood at 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12 advance, through www.sportsmenstavern.com. Admission at the door will be $15.
Lucky Peterson and his band will present “Lucky’s Blues Explosion,” featuring Peterson, Jony James and Jessie Butler, at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Tralf Music Hall. Tickets are $25 advance (box office, Ticketmaster), $27 at the door.
The Dropkick Murphys will get its Celtic punk on at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Tickets are $27.50 advance, $31 day of show (box office, Tickets.com).
Rusted Root will be joined by Hypnotic Clambake and Famous Fred and the Creatures Unknown as part of the Niagara River Rocks series held at Gratwick-Riverside Park in North Tonawanda, beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.