BRO Submission By Brandon Schlia:
Mohawk at near capacity was a nice surprise for a Sunday night show. That’s the fortunate part about a band like Cursive, they’re on the fringe of recognition which allows them to operate in the small venue circuit while still packing the room with die hard fans. We watched with a secret pleasure as the Sold Out sign went up and the stragglers were turned away.
The bill featured a cast of well established local musicians. Opening was Paul’s Grandfather, a indie-folk band centered on the songwriting of three talented young ladies, Becca Ryskalczyk, Katie Preston, and Karrah Teague. As each took a turn leading, they were complimented by unlikely instrumentation including cello, and a saw played with a bow (that’s right, like the tool for cutting trees). Following them was All Of Them Witches, a prog-rock guitar-fest. Featuring members of A Hotel Nourishing and Red Tag Rummage sale, Cameron Rogers, Phillip Freedenberg and Vic Lazar formed an intricate delivery of guitar tapping and turn on a dime rhythm. Most notable was the synced facial gesticulations and finger tapping of Freedenburg. His expressions moved so furiously it almost looked like the riff was coming from his mouth.
Lastly, Cursive took the stage and proceeded to execute one of the best live sets of music I’ve seen. After 2 bands and all the wait around time, I usually find myself tired of standing in a crowded bar by the time the headliner’s set is halfway through. Their performance had virtually no down time. They managed to link nearly every song together fluidly. I was floored by their control over every element in the mix; the way they played on their dynamic options and worked all the rhythmic accents. It was quite clear that they’ve been doing exactly this for many years and are well versed in the tricks of the trade.
They seemed to favor the older material for their set list, and kept their latest effort, “Mama I’m Swollen,” to a minimal. Judging by the level of energy, everyone was quite please with this. But, the highlight of the night had to be “What Have I Done” off the aforementioned record. You could tell that the band has a deeper interest in the songs fresher to them, and Tim Kasher’s vocal delivery was powerfully genuine for this reason as he crooned: “the best years of my life were spent waiting on the best years of my life!”
Rather than take the usual five minute break before returning to the stage for the encore, Kasher took a few minutes break to chat, and self deprecate. “I’m usually that asshole at the party who keeps talking to you and you have to think, ‘how am I going to get out of here? I’ll tell him I have to go to the bathroom.” It was nice listening to the mind of a talented artist stream out some consciousness. It also had another noticeable affect, it made him human. Undoubtedly idolized by a room of 300 hundred fans, he maintains his insecurities and it connected the crowd and the artist even more than the music could.
Cursive is reputable for many reasons. They’re signed to Saddle Creek, a label responsible for cornering the market on the unique singer songwriter. They’ve been relentlessly touring, and releasing albums over the course of 15 years, helping to define the indie sound of post-emo. They have the experience, the chops, the presence of mind to make good musical decisions for translating their recorded music into a ballsy live effort. It was a pleasure to have them in Buffalo.
47 East Mohawk Street
Buffalo, NY 14203-1706