Cursive @ Horseshoe Tavern

. : : March 31st, 2012 : : .

The difference between Cursive‘s performances in Buffalo at Mohawk Place and in Toronto at the Horseshoe Tavern could hardly have been more night and day.

And no, not just because the capacity crowd was seemingly made up of frustratingly obnoxious jerks, aptly described by as “sentimental ‘bros’ and their overly emotional fist pumping” and “hilarious […] douchebags”. Although it was.

Rather, Cursive underscored just what I love about live music. The unpredictability, seeming spontaneity of a performance where anything could happen. From one night to the next, there was remarkable difference in the performance.

Sure, this second night might have been more text book, with front man Tim Kasher sticking more closely to the lyrical script, but the band also made several changes to the set that more than justified the back-to-back attendance.

Most importantly, one of my all-time favourite Cursive songs, Driftwood: A Fairy Tale from 2003’s The Ugly Organ was subbed into the set list. Sure, it took place of the amazing Red Handed Slight of Hand, but sacrifices need to be made in the name of awesome.

Also, the band switched out a couple of the new songs from I Am Gemini as well, showing that they could very easily have made either performance heavy on newer material — they’re capable of playing it, anyway — but consciously restrained themselves, allowing more room for the new songs to breathe amongst the older, well-established hits.

The sound at the Horseshoe was top notch. Although it surprises me that Cursive is still playing a venue with a 400-person capacity (or 300-person, as in Buffalo), the intimacy seems well suited to the band, whose frank, confessional and self-reflexive lyrics evoke seemingly unrestrained passion in its fans.

I cannot fault the passion, but I can fault the complete lack of consideration for fellow man. Point: If I’m less than 10 feet away from a band blaring post-hardcore metal so loudly, I need industrial grade earplugs to keep my head from exploding, there’s no instance in which I should be able to hear you shouting out the lyrics louder than I can hear the band. At least, not for the entire song, let alone the entire performance. Crowd surfing? 1999 called, and it wants it’s assholes back. Luckily, the crowd fought back against the persistent crowd surfer by vigorously pantsing the fucker, who grasped onto the overhead pipes to hold himself up, his face inches away from Tim Kasher’s face. And Jesus Christ, Toronto, stop talking to your friends DURING songs if you’re going to stand right up front.

The recording? It sounds way better than it should have, considering the environment. Vocals seems to come through especially clear, and although drums sound a little more distant, are still fairly distinct.

Regardless of my above complaints and less-than-exemplary experience, it was a great show that Cursive fans will get a kick out of hearing. I hope the enthusiasm of the crowd entices the band to return soon, but I hope next time the crowd leaves their bad manners at home.

01. [introduction]
02. This House Alive
03. Big Bang
04. A Gentleman Caller
05. The Cat and Mouse
06. Retreat!
07. A Red So Deep
08. The Sun and Moon
09. Driftwood: A Fairy Tale
10. We’re Going To Hell
11. The Martyr
12. [banter]
13. Drunken Birds
14. I Couldn’t Love You
15. The Recluse
16. Wowowow
17. From The Hips
18. [encore]
19. Dorothy at 40
20. The Casualty
21. Sink To The Beat
22. At Is Hard
23. Eulogy For No Name

[info.txt // flac fingerprint ]
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Driftwood: A Fairy Tale (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]

Thanks to Cursive for coming back north of the border and the Horseshoe Tavern for hosting us.

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