Alkaline Trio / Cursive

Alkaline Trio / Cursive: live in New Yorklive in New York (2010)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

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

I've been reading about scattered Alkaline Trio fans being bored by the Dear and Departed live, but having enjoyed their recent EP, Chapters, I was kinda looking forward to them. An old English archival-sounding clip type thing played over the PA for their intro; I'd get lazy and mention the Smiths,.

I've been reading about scattered Alkaline Trio fans being bored by the Dear and Departed live, but having enjoyed their recent EP, Chapters, I was kinda looking forward to them. An old English archival-sounding clip type thing played over the PA for their intro; I'd get lazy and mention the Smiths, but this sounded a few decades older than something Moz would routinely sample. Chapters itself is a perfectly polished piece of '80s-influenced goth-pop, but the band was looser than I'd expected live. That wasn't to say they were sloppy or anything--just thankfully more raw and less rehearsed than you might expect from a band so glossy on record. It reared back the potential cheesiness for something like the carefree vibes of "Tambourine Love" and the ever-so-slight melancholy of shimmering opener "Matter of Time." A lot of their guitar tones sounded really crisp and solid, as well. The band only played two songs from their 2007 full-length, Something Quite Peculiar--but I've never actually heard that LP, and even I felt like the only person in the crowd who was even familiar with Chapters. So that was probably a smart set list composition for a big support tour like this. If you actually liked that first Nightmare of You album and similarly pristine examples of that '80s influence, recommended; otherwise, tough call.

Set list (8:00-8:30):

  1. Matter of Time
  2. Did You Hear a Knock?
  3. Tambourine Love
  4. Day to Day
  5. Hometown Hero
  6. There for the Taking

By the time Cursive took the stage a refreshingly scant 15 minutes later, I was a few rum tum tummers deep and rather excited. Weird bro pits aside, their set was probably the highlight of the night. It was one of those sets where Tim Kasher and the rest of his band--or maybe just Kasher himself?--was clearly inebriated yet played with such a fervor and ragged, naked aggression that the slight off-timing was perfectly acceptable. They're just one of those bands that can get away with it every time.

It helped that the set list was a healthy mix of stuff from their last three full-lengths, as well as a fan favorite from Domestica. With 45 minutes to get in and out--and even then the band promptly cut the cord three minutes early--Kasher didn't say a word between songs, simply going reel-to-reel, one song after the other. Whether that was the enlivened energy of "Dorothy at Forty," the pained howling of "Butcher the Song" or the fitful post-hardcore grooves of the "The Martyr," it was awesome.

It seemed during "Dorothy at Forty," though, that there were very few Cursive fans actually here, much like their spot on the Mastodon/Against Me! tour a few years back. But with explosive, wild reactions for cuts off The Ugly Organ later on and some acknowledgement for tracks off last year's Mama, I'm Swollen, it was clear they had a solid number here.

Set list (8:45-9:27):
  1. Dorothy at Forty
  2. Mama, I'm Swollen
  3. Butcher the Song
  4. Retreat!
  5. From the Hips
  6. A Gentleman Caller
  7. Let Me Up
  8. Art Is Hard
  9. The Martyr
  10. Big Bang
  11. I Couldn't Love You

Alkaline Trio played well but I just wasn't into it as much as I would have expected. That's by little-to-no fault of the band's, as they seemed to play solid enough. Maybe the crowd on the floor was a little stuffy and spastically raucous; maybe some of the song transitions didn't flow so well; and perhaps the band's energy level seemed a little sapped for the slower, cleaner numbers. Still, it was a pretty enjoyable set and the band played tight enough. They didn't play with that second guitarist, either, and you couldn't tell the difference; they sounded big, bold and, oddly, upbeat enough all the same.

It was very cool to hear them play a couple off the self-titled collection and Maybe I'll Catch Fire, but I was severely calloused by the lack of "Radio." And I love "Sadie" but I actually mistook it for "Fuck You Aurora" at first; that riff/vibe recycling habit of theirs in recent years definitely made this set occasionally confusing like that. And if you're closing with a sappy lone-guitar number, does anyone else think "Sorry About That" one ups "Blue in the Face" in that department?

Testament to the band's effort at instilling a throwback mode for This Addiction, though, those songs mixed into the set list rather cleanly and finely. It was rare that they jumped out (save the punchy title track, which opened the set), but there were no awkwardly poppy moments--even when a Cursive member came out to do the trumpet part in "Lead Poisoning" (he nailed it).

The expected cover of Misfits' "Attitude," which found the band switching instruments, was pretty cool. But "Continental" dedicated to GG Allin for some reason...? Groan.

Set list (10:01-11:09):
  1. This Addiction
  2. Armageddon
  3. Emma
  4. Dine, Dine My Darling
  5. We've Had Enough
  6. Lead Poisoning
  7. Mr. Chainsaw
  8. Dead on the Floor
  9. Fatally Yours
  10. Crawl
  11. Mercy Me
  12. Goodbye Forever
  13. In Vein
  14. Continental
  15. Blue Carolina
  16. Sadie
  17. Nose Over Tail
  18. '97
    Encore (11:13-11:22):
  19. Fine
  20. Attitude [Misfits cover]
  21. Blue in the Face
The prospect of a tandem this powerful didn't quite live up to my expectations, but this was a cool show nonetheless. I'd still probably take it over a "pretty good" three-band support trio most days of the week, anyway.


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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.
TurkeySackNuts (April 29, 2010)

to say that good mourning is alkaline trios best album is retarded.

ilovelamp (March 18, 2010)

"He was found lying in an acquaintance's apartment, with a didlo lodged in his ass..."
-excerpted from the Wikipedia entry on GG Allin.

necktattoo (March 18, 2010)

dedicating songs to GG = teh punx

keithybobeefy (March 18, 2010)

"im assuming they dedicated Continental to GG Allin because the song is about heroine addiction and he died from a heroine od"

Not to be an ass, but if anyone deserved to die of an over dose, it would be GG Allin. I've yet to see one redeeming quality about the man.

inagreendase (March 17, 2010)

first, why would you review a show and not have 100% of set list?

Dunno if you're directing that to me, but...all 3 set lists here are pretty 100%...

hamonrye (March 17, 2010)

alkaline trio's hot topic-friendly imagery always turned me off

foolsgold (March 17, 2010)

i was up near the front and the crowd was pretty awful. there were a couple of short angry girls who got tossed out 10 minutes into trio's set for punching people / starting a fight, and i saw a guy elbow a girl next to him in the head. what's up with that?

not a bad show, but i wish there had been more dan songs. it was cool seeing skeebs play drums for "fine" and "attitude" and i'm really glad they played "'97", because that's always a great song live. derek seemed a little bored too. ah well. it's always good to see them play.

ilovelamp (March 17, 2010)

Dammit, I saw Cursive three fucking times last year and not once did they play Let Me Up. Easily the best song on Mama, I'm Swollen.

welcome_to_1984 (March 17, 2010)

Saw the show last night in Maryland. I don't know if the sound sucked or what but it was not that good. I had hoped for more.

SurfingTurf (March 17, 2010)

Great set list. It looks like the Trio acknowledges that Good Mourning is probably their best album. I love Continental and Fatally Yours.

teaessare (March 16, 2010)

when cursive started playing nobody was getting into it. it was upsetting. then I made my way up front and just had a good time. their set was actually a little disappointing to me. it was very safe. and what was with the pit for them? people were doing flips. regardless, they are one of my favorites and any day i get to see cursive is a good day, an even better day when it's with alk3. i had really high expectation for alkaline trio too. looking at the last review, it seems like the set was pretty similar but they replaced some good songs with some not so good ones.

ZachLeg (March 16, 2010)

Now that's what I call a setlist

gspinn (March 16, 2010)

first, why would you review a show and not have 100% of set list? second, im assuming they dedicated Continental to GG Allin because the song is about heroine addiction and he died from a heroine od

Anarchypants (March 16, 2010)

The Toronto show was great. They played Fuck you Aurora and Radio. No Misfits cover or Blue in the face though. Continental is my favourite though, I'm glad they played it.

preston (March 16, 2010)

I thought it was good show. I hadn't seen Trio in almost 5 years. I was giddy as kid with a squid. I only caught the last couple songs from that first band...didn't like. Cursive was pretty awesome as well, but I got most excited about Ugly Organ and Domestica songs.

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