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Cursive / Twin Thousands

Cursive / Twin Thousands: live in Brooklynlive in Brooklyn (2009)
Saddle Creek Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I'd never been to Union Hall and was taken back as soon as I walked in. It was a warmly furnished, charming bar whose walls were decorated like an old library. Deep into the place was a two-lane bocce court. I wouldn't actually get to experience too much of it because the show was downstairs. Noneth.


I'd never been to Union Hall and was taken back as soon as I walked in. It was a warmly furnished, charming bar whose walls were decorated like an old library. Deep into the place was a two-lane bocce court. I wouldn't actually get to experience too much of it because the show was downstairs. Nonetheless, that was downstairs was a fairly spacious one, which became a little more confined as you approached the stage. That was fine with me. Cursive was likely to become the only band I'd seen live at Roseland Ballroom and in a basement.

Unfortunately, doors were pushed back an hour and change and it seemed the show would never start. Finally, at 9:50, a partially balding, fully bespectacled Dan McCarthy walked up with his acoustic guitar and after a short intro began playing. McCarthy Trenching, as he went by, played a half-hour set of folk songs that mostly took place in bars. With his interesting narratives, it was easy to shut out the typical bar chatter that continued behind the crowd. If I was lazy, which I am, I'd say I occasionally got a Good Life vibe, though the subject matter tended to be more quirky than depressing. One song was about a young man losing his virginity to a Valentine, NE stripper and then having his car stolen by her.

Twin Thousands took his place 20 minutes later. The six-piece is the newest endeavor for cellist/keyboardist/vocalist Gretta Cohn, who played in Cursive from 2001-2005. Their set ran the gamut from dramatic, sad bastard ballads to more upbeat, sing-along indie pop fare. The former was usually led by vocalist/keyboardist/occasionally ukuleleist (I think?) Ryan Smith, who also spends time with A Million Billion and the Silent League. He had a pretty rough, strained voice that was wild and out of key, but it worked for the songs pretty well. Despite all the technical difficulties, they weren't bad, but as they reached the end of their 45 minutes, I think most everyone was ready for Cursive.

After a long and frustrating wait (a good 40 minutes), with Kasher prefacing the setup, even, by apologizing profusely for the band's tardiness, Cursive was finally ready to meet the wild anticipation. The crowd was sort of drunk, a little rowdy and sometimes obnoxious, but never too much of any. In fact, when one dude randomly said "Fuck you!" to Kasher mid-set, the frontman demanded he come on stage. He received an apology and then ordered the heckler to buy a double shot of Jameson, a request that was promptly fulfilled.

That double shot of Jameson was probably a drop in the pool for Kasher, though -- he was shitfaced. And it was awesome. Every song he would puncutate his words with wild finger-pointing, as if he was arguing with the crowd. He was the actual character we all imagine Isaac Brock to be on any old Modest Mouse album: arms flailing and voice cracking, yet never missing a note or lyric.

I should mention the talents of Cornbread Compton. He was just ridiculous, with his intricate fills taking every song to the next level. Even Kasher seemed taken back at one point, turning around during a fill in "The Casualty" and giving him a look of impressed bewilderment.

The band sprinkled in five new songs from the upcoming Mama, I'm Swollen, and they were all pretty great. The first one seemed to be the obvious single, as Kasher repeatedly howled various ways of phrasing "I can't love you anymore." Another traded off between a clean, cool narrative and bustling, raw rock, and it ruled. The epic "What Have I Done?" (as christened by those who have posted live versions on YouTube) was grand, too.

Kasher's fiancée, Sarah, seems to be along for the tour as well, since she was present at the show. Kasher called her out and gushly declared his love for her, and the two even made out on stage. Several times. Kasher later summed it up well: "I'm sorry. That was awkward." She lightly contributed some vocals to "Art Is Hard" and "What Have I Done?", in fact. Kasher seems happy with her, and hey, if it doesn't work out, you gotta think there'll be some more fantastically bitter Cursive and Good Life albums that result.

Among familiar material, "Dorothy at Forty" might've been the standout, as the whole room was just serious ruckus and Kasher's theatrics were in even wilder form. No one really seemed to recognize "A Disruption...," but it was played pretty well and provided a nice little raw moment.

The encore was really just Kasher explaining to the crowd that it was the end of the set list proper and they had another four songs planned. After he received the appropriate applause the band launched into them. For the last, "Sierra," Kasher stepped off stage and brought the entire mic stand with him, carrying it deep into the middle of the crowd. There he stood and gyrated, continuing his ridiculous gesticulations while fans bounced around him and shouted the awesomely coarse lyrics to the song along with him.

Set list (12:05-1:16):

  1. Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand
  2. Sink to the Beat
  3. new song [listed on set list as "♥ You"]
  4. Babies
  5. Making Friends and Acquaintances
    -----
  6. new song [listed on set list as "Alps"]
  7. Driftwood: A Fairy Tale
  8. Dorothy at Forty
  9. Mama, I'm Swollen [new]
    -----
  10. A Disruption in... [either "...the Normal of Swings" or "...Our Lines of Influence"]
  11. Art Is Hard
  12. new song [titled by YouTubers as "What Have I Done?"]
    "Encore":
  13. Big Bang
  14. new song [lyric: "I'll cast you out"]
  15. The Casualty
  16. Sierra
So, essentially, a Cursive basement show. It was awesome. I don't know if you can do much better.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TeaEssAre (January 22, 2009)

I live on the same block as Union Hall. I tried to sneak into this, for it is right next to me, and Cursive is one of my favorite bands. The show was 21 , and I am 19, so I knew this would be no easy task. I waited outside in the snow seeing if people would put press their stamped hand on mine. It kind of worked, because when the bouncer (skinny white hipster) saw it, he didn't really question it until i was about to step foot in the venue. He asked for ID, and i pretty much failed. I'm pretty pissed I missed such a sweet setlist too. At least I'll see them in March!

inagreendase (January 21, 2009)

Also, forgot to mention... It seems like Kasher is getting back to the meta writing style of Ugly Organ. Y'know. Writings songs about writing songs. It's pretty cool.

theDrivingSnow (January 21, 2009)

Good review. Very excited for new album. Domestica is still their pinnacle methinks.

maverick (January 21, 2009)

This setlist is nearly identical to what they played in Cleveland. "What Have I Done?" is intense, too. 7-plus minutes long, really soul-bearing lyrics. Watch the live video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMh1X_mC740

-Scott

DAKOTACORE (January 21, 2009)

"That sounds like a dickish thing for the frontman to do. Why did the guy apologize?"

Right, and yelling out "fuck you" to a member of a band you paid to see isn't?

Score is for my band playing with them in a few days.

sugarfull (January 21, 2009)

"In fact, when one dude randomly said "Fuck you!" to Kasher mid-set, the frontman demanded he come on stage. He received an apology and then ordered the heckler to buy a double shot of Jameson, a request that was promptly fulfilled."

That sounds like a dickish thing for the frontman to do. Why did the guy apologize?

mikexdude (January 20, 2009)

Cursive is incredible.

HeresLookinAtYou (January 20, 2009)

Wow.. I can't believe I missed this.

Archangel (January 20, 2009)

Sorry Tim, but I want to see you fail in love so I can have another Ugly Organ.

Additionally: You got Making Friends and Acquaintances!? FUCK.

jaradyeah (January 20, 2009)

Sounds just like the minneapolis show. An hour late start, drunken douche-baggery all around, and an encore in the middle of the crowd. All around great show.

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