Judging by the crowd at Ottobar on Saturday for the Cursive show, I’m sure there are better (more hardcore fans) out there to write this review, but I’ll give it my best shot. Overall I was impressed with the performance, it was a pretty intense show all the way through with some great banter from frontman Kasher and a few other surprises. Cursive isn’t necessarily my taste in music, to me they have always been a little too emo (or screamo) for me, but nevertheless it’s also been tough for me not to respect the band.. they have a pretty great catalog of music and are often times able to jump the genre a bit and showcase more variety. When in the right mood the lyrics are interesting and the music can soothe the angry monkey in your head, but when your not it just sounds whiny and a little bloated. I would say the show at Ottobar (my first time seeing them live) ran the gamut for everything you might expect from Cursive.
First things first, it must be said that Tim Kasher is an excellent frontman. I’ve seen some interviews with him that were almost unbearable, and I’m sure some of the audience at the show grew tired of his ramblings, but I was thoroughly entertained. He stopped in the middle of songs just to fuck with the crowd (and sometimes it seemed like the band was thrown off as well), only to crash back into the song at a moments notice. Most the time he just rambled about things that didn’t make any sense but were somehow funny. I remember there being some fake pandering to the Baltimore crowd, “ahhh home of Domino Sugar and… um… ” (or something like that). It’s tough to remember all the bantering that went on but trust me when I say it was sarcastic, nonsensical, and just funny. His other antics included gathering the mic wire from around the stage and singing a song on the side of the stage near the doorman, then coming out and getting in many people’s faces in the crowd and basically singing and screaming an inch from their face. It was definitely entertaining.
I know most fans praise The Ugly Organ as Cursive’s greatest album but judging the entire show, and I hate to be the person who like the latest hit, I would have to say “From The Hips” is the best song they have ever put out. Maybe because it seems to just stand-out from everything else, where most the songs have a similar formula of singing then screaming (then repeat).. “From The Hips” seems to be more subtle in its approach, less of a direct statement, and more of a feeling. Not to say there weren’t other great songs throughout the night, including the cover of Bowie’s “Modern Love” with the opener The Love Language coming out on stage beating the drums and tambourines, but none of them quite lived up to that song for me, and they played that song pretty early in the night.
So really this comes down to more my taste and my mood, because looking out over the fans who were way more energetic than I was that night (after a long day I was struggling to get through the 4 song encore) they were all loving it, pumping fists in the air and shouting along to the lyrics like they wrote them themselves. The band itself is very talented, the drummer was impressive in every song, and I had a great vantage point looking down from the Ottobar sideshow where I never watch a show from. I was mesmerized by the drummer’s playing more than anything throughout the night. The trumpet is a great addition to otherwise heavy music and the overall instrumentation in the band was really well done. I would recommend seeing this band live to anyone, even if you aren’t a fan, it wasn’t perfect but it was definitely a good night of music and an entertaining one. And if you have yet to pick up the latest album, I would highly recommend that as well.
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