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Titus Andronicus, with Free Energy, Shakes. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $12. New Jersey's Titus Andronicus likes to show off their

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Tonight: Titus Andronicus at the Tractor, People Under the Stairs at Neumos, Modern English at the Triple Door, Melrose Market Street Fair

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Titus Andronicus, with Free Energy, Shakes. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $12. New Jersey's Titus Andronicus likes to show off their book smarts - they named their band after a Shakespeare play, and now their second record, this year's The Monitor, is probably the first and only Civil War-themed rock album out this year. The songs are gloriously galvanizing, high-octane, and crunchy; the quartet uses battle stories of the war between the states ("A Perfect Union," "Four Score and Seven") - Abe Lincoln, Jeff Davis, John Brown, and all - to whip themselves into a frenzy and vent their suburban anxiety. Frontman Patrick Stickles' vocals are scrapingly raw, the guitars are raucous, and the lyrics are angsty to the max ("I wasn't born to die like a dog/ I was born to die just like a man!") Who knew military history could be so punk rock? ERIN K. THOMPSON

People Under the Stairs, with Helladope, Gran Rapids, Dev From Above. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 P.M. $15. In the liner notes for their 2002 record O.S.T., producer and emcee Thes One wrote that "somewhere along the way it seems most critics decided that just making hip-hop was not good enough." But after 13 years and 7 records, this LA hip-hop duo is as dedicated to the idea of golden-era hip-hop as when they began. With Double K making up the other half, all the duties are handled in-house--there are no guest producers or emcees involved with this project. The crate-dug breaks and samples all have a deliciously upbeat and funky vibe, and while Los Angeles might not be all fun and games, the way these two live (and rap) might just convince you otherwise. NICK FELDMAN

Modern English. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $25. All ages. Modern English are best known for the 1982 single "I Melt With You," which kids these days often mistakenly think is by The Cure or Taco Bell's marketing department. It turns out they've made a few other songs in their 30-year career, including an entire album's worth released this past May. There are no head-bopping jangle ditties to be found on Soundtrack and no cheesy beefy melts at the Triple Door but instead a deep, dramatic selection that's much more mature than any of us were in the 80s. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

Melrose Market Street Fair. Melrose Ave. E. 10 a.m. Free. All ages. Just across the street from the popular Capitol Hill hangouts Chapel and Bauhaus Coffee is Melrose Market, an easy-to-miss brick triangle once occupied by car shops. In their place, nine fashionable new eateries, shops, and boutiques have been opening this year under a single roof. Today's street fair celebrates them all. Food and libations will be plentiful and even a little fancy. Chef Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce will take a break from his usual haute cuisine to do some good old-fashioned barbecuing. The Homegrown deli will vend its locally sourced snacks and sandwiches. Calf & Kid and Rain Shadow Meats will provide, respectively, artisan cheeses and charcuterie. This event's a bit too classy for a keg, but Bar Ferd'nand and Still Liquor will be mixing cocktails for grown-ups. (Proceeds from the separate beer garden benefit Seattle Tilth.) For entertainment, über-chic Velouria Boutique is putting on a fashion show; and Sonic Boom Records has wrangled three live bands (beginning at 1 p.m.): Texas New Wavers Times New Roman, local folk singer Kyle Bradford, and electro-ravers Head Like a Kite. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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