A man has found his way onto the stage of the Starlight Ballroom and he is very, very drunk. Stumbling around a bit, he finds his way to the microphone and begins screaming about how there is no God and how hard art is, and laughing a hideous, awful laugh that would make Christopher Nolan rethink his casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker. People shout things at this man and his retorts receive more laughter at them than with them. This man is Tim Kasher and he is the front man for indie rockers, Cursive.It’s no big deal that Kasher’s completely wasted; if he only played Cursive songs back to back with no interludes or dialogue, you’d actually be hard pressed to notice. This is to say that while he can barely form competent sentences, he can still perform songs that are the musical equivalent of smashing all your worldly possessions with a baseball bat while tearing your vocal chords to shreds.
After sauntering out onto stage, sweaty and stinking of rum, the band begins attacking their canon of songs with the ferocity of a junk yard dog.
Taking a dangerous chance, the band opens with a pot boiler, “So-So Gigalo,” from their new album, Happy Hollow. Even though a surprising amount of the room seems to recognize the tune, it’s “Making Friends and Acquaintances” off 2000’s Domestica that has the whole crowd screaming about how they keep their secrets “between the boxspring and the matress.” Kasher’s drunkenness is only really noticeable when the band stops performing. After that, it’s fair game as he introduces fan favorite songs with long, boring experiments of feedback and delay that would make Sonic Youth blush.
The set continues on as songs new (“Dorthy at 40”) and old (“Mothership, Mothership Do You Read Me?”) are showcased. What is unique about this show, and tour in general, is that the band has decided to bring along the three piece horn section that litters Hollow. This makes for a total of eight members on stage playing instruments from a synthesizer to chimes to a cello to baritone saxophone at any given time. Oddly, or maybe more impressively, very rarely does the number of instruments sound cluttered, but they do occasionally step on each other’s musical toes.
Interestingly enough, Cursive has chosen to go as far as to add horn parts to old favorites. This seemed to have mixed results with some of the more hardcore fanbase, but it didn’t stop the entire crowd from coming together for the closed eye bliss of “A Gentleman Caller”‘s closing refrian of “the worst is over” over and over again. Kasher and guitarist Ted Stevens hit the high and low notes, the rest of the crowd falling somewhere in the middle like a bunch of kids who took choir just for the three credits. A smile deep across his face, Kasher thanks everyone post-sing-a-long, bending over and hugging the front row. His sincerity probably only half due to his drinking.