You’ve seen the pictures, videos, and pertinent tweets of The Replacements’ first show in over two decades at Riot Fest Toronto last weekend. But what you haven’t yet experienced is the hearty amount of emotion Titus Andronicus singer Patrick Stickles put into a 9,000 word review of the show for Spin—though “review” doesn’t really do the essay justice. Stickles lays out a florid history of the working-class band from the middle of America in mythic fashion, building up the legend of the group and its career achievements. Then he gets to his personal experiences listening to music and growing up disillusioned; a Christmas where he received Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation and the ‘Mats Let It Be forms the backbone of the personal essay in the second section. A few thousand words in and Stickles gets to the show, recounting every detail of his thought process while attending Riot Fest, watching Iggy Pop, and then finally, to The Replacements’ set itself, described in transcendent moments—Stickles ran out of time on his deadline, so he couldn’t “crank out a thousand words about every song on the set list.” Stickles’ music with Titus Andronicus drips heavily with narrative and aesthetic excess, so it makes sense that his approach to reviewing a fabled band’s reunion show would turn out like this—and credit to his editors for helping to craft such an involved story.
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