Cursive tear apart the crowd in Columbus

By By Justin Jacobs

‘ ‘ ‘ Cursive frontman Tim Kasher has never been much for subtlety. ‘ ‘ ‘ Be it lyrics… ‘ ‘ ‘ Cursive frontman Tim Kasher has never been much for subtlety. ‘ ‘ ‘ Be it lyrics about outright heart-crushing topics, riotous sandpaper shouts or punch-in-the-gut guitars, Kasher’s music with Cursive isn’t for the faint of heart. ‘ ‘ ‘ And that’s the whole appeal ‘mdash; leave politeness for the radio pop, it’s time for torture. ‘ ‘ ‘ So when the overstuffed Columbus, Ohio crowd spilled onto the low stage last night at dive bar/rock madhouse The Summit, compromising Kasher’s amplifier, he didn’t hesitate to speak his mind. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘I know we’re attractive people,’ he said. ‘Believe me, the times I’ve masturbated in the mirror … But take a step back. I promise, we’ll look the same.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ What a sweetheart. ‘ ‘ ‘ But the crowd’s foaming frenzy wasn’t unfounded ‘mdash; Kasher’s impassioned, atonal-as-always holler could peel paint. And for a band that specializes in uncomfortable, churning and chugging rock ‘n’ roll, that’s quite a compliment. ‘ ‘ ‘ The stage at The Summit is about as big as a billiards table, but Cursive played gorgeously haunted as ever, with a set frontloaded with the driving ‘Dorothy at Forty,’ the back catalogued wall of sound ‘Sink to the Beat’ and the thrashing, twisted ‘Art is Hard.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Unreleased track ‘We’re Going to Hell,’ far from what its title would suggest, eased on the agony. The track is a haunted slow dance with Kasher’s falsetto of the title repeated over shallow, cymbal-heavy drumming and crawling keyboards ‘mdash; like U2’s ‘One’ for the beautifully demented. The tune was a welcome respite from the organized chaos of the rest of the show, and the kids in the front, whose shins were pressed tight against the stage, needed the break. ‘ ‘ ‘ Other new tracks, including the almost majestic, fast-shuffle ‘The Hips,’ found Cursive almost antsy ‘mdash; these Omaha boys are ready to drop a new record. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘All these new songs will be your favorites. This record is f*****g brilliant,’ said Kasher cheekily. ‘If you like Cursive like I do, you’ll love it.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Around the halfway mark, Kasher, who often sang with his face contorted, his hands over his head, began to show a crack in his otherwise flawless performance of anguish set to melody ‘mdash; he was losing his voice. ‘ ‘ ‘ After the band completed the wild, flailing ‘Some Red-Handed Sleight of Hand,’ Kasher could barely muster up a hoarse, ‘Thank you.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Inviting a 21st-birthday girl to sing ‘A Gentleman Caller’ proved not such a good idea ‘mdash; even with Kasher and guitarist Ted Stevens’ help on the microphone, she was as outgoing a frontwoman as you could expect from a tiny blonde girl being accosted by 200 fans. That is to say she stood there frozen. ‘ ‘ ‘ Kasher bolted from stage to grab a drink, and a minute later returned for a big, hoarse finish ‘mdash; ‘The Recluse’ and ‘The Casualty.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ By the oft-repeated last line of, ‘It’ll swallow you f*****g whole,’ Kasher’s voice had slid through a paper shredder and landed on broken glass ‘mdash; barely audible, more a pained, stretched whisper. ‘ ‘ ‘ The band walked offstage. The crowd jumped on hoping for a setlist, a guitar pick. A vibration, a sign that what they’d just seen was real.