Cursive/Thermals Live in Seattle

Courtesy of Soundonthesound

September 20, 2006 at Neumo’s

Upon entering the Seattle venue Neumos, I really thought it would be the Thermals night. With all the obscenely positive press The body, the blood, the machine has been receiving, (even from yours truly) I figured the kids would be primed to just eat it up. As it turns out however, it wasn’t so. Although for this, the Thermals can’t be blamed.

Hutch Harris was rocking and singing about the lord smiting the innocent to the point of looking ghoulish, and the rest of the band was supremely tight. They even played as a four piece just to add that little bit of extra rock. (Although I’m not sure how much more rock unison power chords add.) But all the same, it was nice, the effort was there.

Songs like “I might need you to kill” and “St. Rosa and the Swallows” were just as good as they are on record which is to say, pretty fucking good. And while nothing in their back catalog was wooing me, it was easy to see why it has others. I was just kind of baffled by the apathetic reaction of this all-ages crowd to such intelligent, energetic music.

Cursive came on next though, and abruptly solved the mystery. I never thought that the all-ages crowd would really grasp onto Cursive’s more mature themes of domestic strife, and sexual politics but I guess rock trumps all, and Cursive definitely brought the rock. From the first chord out of Tim Kasher’s guitar (here looking all seventies revival, sporting a mustache and a plaid snappy shirt) the crowd was his.

Playing as an eight piece band, (complete with a three piece horn section and a cellist) Cursive was in stark contrast to the traditional rock show put forth by the Thermals. Soundscapes were used to transition between songs, and at times the large band grew into wall of sound style performances. Happy Hollow was given it’s fair share of the show with “Big Bang” and “Dorothy looks at 40” being the highlights, but not surprisingly, songs from either Domestica, or The Ugly Organ proved to be the biggest crowd pleasers.

Cursive’s sound was tight throughout the show, and horn arrangements were often grafted onto the older material making for a new and interesting listen. They even got some straight up rock and roll fist pumping happening in what is so often the obligatory encore. So upon stumbling out of the show, stomach full of PBR, I may have thought to myself, “Well those fucking kids, you know, even though they didn’t give the Thermals their due, they got one thing right, and that’s something.” Then some of those kids probably went home to smoke pot and listen to their old Matchbox Twenty CDs. Sellouts.

– Jared Fiechtner 

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