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All Words: Shona Fenner

All Photos: Farrah Skeiky

Our headliner is touring to showcase their brand new seventh album, I Am Gemini, out now on Saddle Creek Records. Remember Saddle Creek? Yes, Cursive has been around for like 15 years now. And yes, you could label them as emo. But give them a rightful second because Cursive is a more than that modifier. Right from their first song, “This House Alive” (also the opening track on the new album) the audience started grinning from ear to ear. It would be safe to assume that everybody there could attribute a significant amount of his or her musical/romantic/life evolution to 2003’s The Ugly Organ or 2000’s Domestica. If you can start with a band and stay with them over a dozen years later… something is very right. I’ll save you a long diatribe about why I have come to love this band. Basically it involved me at 14 discovering indie rock in my first shady little record shop and being shocked that I ever bothered to listen to anything else ever. Ah, the formative years.

Forgive me, I seem to be getting ahead of myself. Our Friday night started off with a band called Conduit from Omaha. I didn’t hear any of their set and evidently missed out. Conduits seems to be a bit of an indie super group. Their sound is is a little shoegaze-y, a little Beach House-y, and evidently far better than expected from an early opener.

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The band up next snuck on stage with an unassuming quality that made their brand of yelped indie rock a good wake up call/a call to arms. Cymbals Eat Guitars played from their two full-length albums, Why There Are Mountains and Lenses Alien. Their music swells from rhythmic and exacting to raucous and boisterous in your face rock. They ran through their set with the shortest of pauses and very little movement on stage. Cymbals Eat Guitars didn’t show much energy physically, but the music did that for them. They sounded great live, but I like a bit of a spectacle during a show. Only the spray from Joseph D’Agostino’s enthusiastic shouts highlighted the visceral nature of their sound. No matter what they look like on stage Cymbals Eat Guitars have found a way to make loud songs sound pretty. Try listening to “Definite Darkness” or “…And The Hazy Sea” for a good taste.

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While Cursive is obviously hitting their late 30’s, they aren’t phoning in a performance or losing their appeal. Cursive barreled through their career spanning set with energy, vigor, and a healthy amount of cheeky charm. Front man Tim Kasher still has the boyish appeal of a rocker from the British Invasion. Pair that with a playful love for the fans that love him and the poignant, sometimes devastating lyrics, and you have a hell of an experience.

They played a long set, with about as many songs as I have fingers and toes. They drew everything out, playing five encore songs after leaving the crowd hanging for quite awhile. I would have been nervous that no encore was coming if Tim Kasher hadn’t repeatedly winked and nodded at us about their “last song”. The encore was really worth it when he came down into the crowd, microphone stand and all, for one of the numbers. Audience members really had no idea what to do with themselves after he broke through the fourth wall. Heads were turning left and right and we all leaned into each other to create a path for him. Then suddenly we all just started dancing again and thought nothing more of it.

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It is my impression that Cursive fans are genuinely nice people. The best evidence of this is when our lovely photographer found herself bowled into during a particularly energetic encore number, losing her flash and glasses. You would assume that all the close bodies and stomping feet would be the end of these expensive items. But low and behold, a girl behind us found the flash on the ground and later (while others picked up their broken frames) a young gentleman tapped her on the shoulder and asked if we knew the girl looking for her glasses. The world is full of surprises. The fact that we both bought Cursive merch is not one of those surprises… that was an inevitability.

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