The first band, Philadelphia's own The G, played loud. Loud and fast. It was hard to really form an opinion on them, they had great energy, but it was very hard to make out anything other than one guitar and the drums. I'll have to look into these guys again, but I was neither impressed nor disappointed.
The Love Language played next. Hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, the septet (that's seven people) played a very soul inspired form of southern indie rock. They can be compared to the Delta Spirit, but with more soulful, smooth vocals. The crowd was very unreceptive to them at first, but their happy pop jams won everyone over and Cursive fans actually started dancing. Well, a little bit. They closed their set with an amazing cover of the Ricky Nelson classic "Hello Mary Lou". Definitely a band worth checking out live if you get the chance.
Now the big boys came out. In any other setting I would have been worried about the Love Language overshadowing the headliner. But that isn't a problem when Cursive is headlining. Now bearing a five man line-up (a touring musician plays the keys and horns) they sounded extremely tight all night. Tim Kasher's trademark yells, yelps, whispers, and screams were all perfectly in tune, which I was shocked at. He truly sounded better live than on record. And they wasted no time kicking things into high gear, opening with fast paced classic, "The Great Decay". Any doubts as to the fanhood of the crowd were immediately put to bed. I don't think I saw more than two closed mouths not singing along all night. Stopping rarely between songs, Tim and Co. gave the profusely sweating crowd barely any time to catch their breath. After first addressing the heat ("Are you angry as us? Oh, your angry at the heat? And God?"), Tim played with the crowd a bit. After a fantastic rendition of this year's "Mama, I'm Satan", Tim said "Either you guys didn't like that song, or you haven't really listened to the new record yet....It's okay, I haven't listened to your new record either, I like the old stuff though." The set list was a spectacular mix of old and new, hard and soft, slow and fast. They tore through blistering performances of "Big Bang", "The Casualty", "The Martyr", "From The Hips", and had Tim giving his best wise preacher motions on "Rise Up! Rise Up!". They took it down a notch for slower songs "Driftwood", "The Recluse", and "Making Friends And Acquaintances". The two biggest live stand outs were an unexpected cover the The Cure's "Lovecats" and most recent album closer "What Have I Done?". The latter was arguably the best performance of the night, with both Kasher and the audience giving it everything they had left. They closed their set with arguably their fastest song, "Some Red Handed Sleight Oof Hand", which left everyone in the audience completely wiped out.
I went in to the show wishing I was seeing The Good Life, Tim Kasher's other project. I left knowing that if I never get the opportunity to see Kasher live again, in any incarnation, I was lucky to see him when I had the chance.
Here's my video of "The Recluse".