Cursive | 04.24.09

live_cursive.jpgWhen they played "Sierra," it became clear that his voice can do many wondrous things.




The Firebird, St. Louis

Omaha-based Cursive began its tour in support of the new album Mama, I’m Swollen on Friday night at The Firebird. This was my third time seeing them live, and they have yet to disappoint. The first concert I saw was in Springfield, Mo.; that ended with me sneaking my underage friend into the bar underneath the venue. I saw Cursive walk down to the bar to have a few drinks and I didn’t want to ditch my friend, so we did the old wristband-transfer scheme, and we were in. I then proceeded to buy frontman Tim Kasher and myself a Starburst shot to drink while we sang Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ "Come on Eileen" on the karaoke machine. The second concert was in Columbia, Mo., where I was asked to leave after the show because none of the bouncers believed my claims that I was Kasher’s brother.

On Friday, the opening act was St. Louis natives Gentleman Auction House, who were playing their last show of their latest tour while Cursive was playing the first show of their new tour. GAH looked genuinely happy to be performing their final show of the tour at home. They played a solid set of six or seven songs, notably "We Used to Dream About Bridges," before passing the touring torch off to Cursive.

After the four band members played the opening song, Kasher made some strange gurgling noises into the microphone, claiming that his pipes were a bit rusty. I think the gurgling helped him, because after that his voice was simply fantastic for the remainder of the night. When they played "Sierra," it became clear that his voice can do many wondrous things, whether it has been resting for a few months or not.

Mama, I’m Swollen is considerably toned down in comparison to the band’s previous three albums. It could almost be mistaken for one of The Good Life albums (Kasher’s side project). I certainly enjoy The Good Life, but at a Cursive show it is the general consensus that the crowd wants to be hit hard by a wave of loud, hard music. An even selection of songs from each album was represented, so all grounds were covered. The new favorite song, according to the crowd’s reaction, is "From the Hips." The build up slowly rises and Kasher’s resentful whispers eventually turn into frustrated screams while he admits that "his hips said it all."

Cursive’s near-two-hour set was finished with three encore songs from their three previous albums: "The Martyr" (Domestica), "Big Bang" (Happy Hollow) and "Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand" (The Ugly Organ). The latter song always makes me want to hear the song that follows it on disc, "Art Is Hard," much like the mouse needing the glass of milk after eating that damned cookie. But maybe that’s why I have continued to frequent Cursive shows" They continue to make me want more of the fractured, yet vigorously energetic songs. | Alex Schreiber

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