Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cursive at the Troubadour. March 13, 2009. West Hollywood, CA.

So much of 2003's The Ugly Organ was about using pain as the basis of selling art, and having to imitate that onetime real pain in order to recreate an authentic experience for the music fan. It was a heavy, dramatic album, and despite that Cursive's current tour is meant to promote the brand new Mama, I'm Swollen, this Troubadour show really revolved around The Ugly Organ.

Tim Kasher suddenly woke up after “Sierra,” perhaps the most intense song ever written about a deadbeat father ready to pick up where he left off. And after this passionate fit of calling out to that lost daughter, there was no option but to start over softly and gradually regain some of that energy expelled – so there was “From the Hips,” and there was the title track off Mama, to which Kasher danced a smidge, perhaps to add some grace to a room in which an old-fashioned pit (it's true!) had steadily developed.

Kasher's specialty – always a step above “emo” – is bitching without weeping, though it was awfully hard for him to keep a straight face when someone broke the silence between his whispers with an occasional “Tim-may!” And though he had to set a somewhat slower pace in fingerpicking at the start of “The Recluse,” his guitar layered over that of Ted Stevens meant heavier songs like “Sierra” and “Art is Hard” sounded complete even without the cello of onetime member Gretta Cohn.

The performance on the whole was much larger than the tiny Troubadour, an idea best demonstrated through the wall of white noise, Organ's “Staying Alive,” which cooed in repetition “the worst is over” before Cursive came back down for a meaty encore. Band and crowd looked a bit worn by the time “The Martyr” came to be, but just as “Sierra” had woken Kasher, “Art is Hard” woke the crowd, suddenly apeshit – apeshit! – above lyrics that made us a collective character in song.

Supporting act Ladyfinger, who eat sausage and play like real men (and not in a "Hi, we play at the Whisky-a-Gogo" sort of way.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fuck. I tried the spaceland show but didn't get in.