One Cursive fan’s perspective on this Minus the Bear show
Review and photos by David Hill
I pulled up to the Variety Playhouse at 7:50. I was going to see Cursive for the fourth time – my favorite show was at this same venue only three and a half years earlier. What would it be like this time? They just released the so-so I Am Gemini in 2012, but all bands have those gaping holes in the discography that hardcore fans don’t care much to talk about. The show would prove to Atlanta (or at least me) that Cursive still had its shit together.
My first surprise of the evening came at 7:51 when I saw the marquee. Cursive did not have top billing. Reality hit me. Hard. It’s a Minus the Bear show. Cursive is just opening. Shit. After ditching my pre-written 500-word review/poem titled “Cursive Makes Me Hard,” I bought a $4 PBR tallboy (those were hip back in my day) and decided to grab a front row stand.
At promptly 8:05, Nina Diaz and her San Antonio-based Girl In a Coma crew began rocking out to a handful of early birds in attendance. Opening acts have to be solid to “rock” because there’s way too much stacked against them. The crowd is mostly sober still, and the band has roughly three feet to move in front of a cluttered stage full of equipment belonging to other bigger bands. The girls felt largely like a solid garage act because they looked like they were playing in a garage.
Finally, 9:00 hit and the lights dimmed. I wondered how big Tim Kasher’s beard had grown. How drunk would he be? Would he actually bring a bottle of whiskey out on stage this time? I politely explained to the young chap next to me that Cursive is not a local band; they come from Omaha. He stared blankly at me.
Surprise number two: seeing Tim. He’s getting rail-thin these days. What the hell was that Chardonnay-looking liquid he’s drinking? And why was he wearing khakis and a white oxford shirt like a RadioShack employee? And was he really telling jokes and LAUGHING? Who the fuck is this guy? It’s like he’s having fun, now. There was no “Martyr” or “Lament of Pretty Baby.” Hell, there wasn’t even anyone playing cello. Then I started listening to the crowd. Save for a couple of singles, “Art is Hard” and “From the Hips,” no one was really singing along. It’s not that the crowd wasn’t enjoying it, the crowd just didn’t know the songs.
I sat in a plastic chair drinking my third beer, after finally switching to Guinness like the old man I am. I thought, ”Things have changed, man. People don’t rock out like they used to.”
Then, a Seattle band hit the stage – Minus the Bear. A fresh cheer erupted from the crowd that had grown three sizes since Cursive opened. The smell of pot, the smell of booze, the lights, the roar…
Surprise number three: this is rock and roll now. So, maybe nothing’s changed.
And I’m OK with that.