Cursive - live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


live in Boston (2018)

live show

It was a work night and Cursive was not scheduled to take the stage until 11:00, which was pretty unfortunate. But it would take more than that for me to miss a favorite of mine, a long-standing indie rock institution at this point. They also just released their new album, Vitriola, their best in 12 years.

Cursive came out to the stage with a metaphorical tip of the hat as the song “Free to Be… You and Me” by the New Seekers played on the PA; the band then launched into their own song of nearly the same name, “Free to Be or Not to Be You and Me”, which opens the aforementioned Vitriola. They played as a six-piece with trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist Patrick Newberry and cellist Megan Selbe, and it added a fullness to the whole performance. Selbe also did the female vocals on “The Recluse” to really nail the authenticity of the recorded version.

The new stuff naturally sounded pretty great live. “Ouroboros” started off way more abrasive than on record, and the album’s penultimate and best track “Life Savings” was tucked near the end of the set as a late highlight.

They seemed to be in a good, cordial mood as well. Frontman Tim Kasher appropriately mentioned before “The Night I Lost the Will to Fight” how they participated in trivia night at the bar next door (they did terrible) and there was a team there nearly as bad named I Need A Catalyst.

They came out for a cool encore where they started with the majority of the peppy “Dorothy at Forty”, then made a very smooth transition at the bridge to “Under the Rainbow”, playing that in full and then closing with the finishing bang of “Dorothy at Forty”. It really tied together the Wizard of Oz references Kasher seems to litter throughout Cursive’s catalog.

Set list (11:00-12:13):

1. Free to Be or Not to Be You and Me

2. Big Bang

3. The Martyr


4. It's Gonna Hurt

5. Ouroboros

6. A Gentleman Caller

7. This House Alive

8. The Casualty

9. The Recluse


10. The Rhyme Scheme


11. Into the Fold


12. The Night I Lost the Will to Fight

13. Wowowow

14. Art Is Hard

15. Life Savings


16. Staying Alive

Encore (12:15-12:27):

17./18. Dorothy at Forty / "Under the Rainbow" at the bridge / Dorothy at Forty

19. From the Hips