Reviews

Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Anna Paige
06/18/2009 | Billings Outpost | www.billingsnews.com | Live Show Preview
This spring has already found me traveling from the mayhem that was the Sasquatch music festival in Washington to the more urban setting of Denver, Colo., last weekend to attend Westword's music festival.

The annual event, hosted by Denver's free weekly arts and culture publication, features a showcase of local musicians as well as a handful of well-known national acts.

Headlining the festival was indie rock band Built to Spill, though I was most excited to see Omaha, Neb., rock band Cursive, also scheduled to perform in Billings on Saturday, June 20. As I sidled through the crowd to get a better view, craning my neck to see the band, I realized I would be lucky to get to see them in a much more intimate setting at their upcoming show in Billings.

Cursive sounded flawless live. Lead singer Tim Kasher is an animated performer, using his hands to gesture as he sings as his angst-ridden vocals projected between downtown buildings.

Cursive is in the midst of a national tour after releasing its seventh album in May. "Mama I'm Swollen" is an album swarming with explorations of life's heartbreak and mystique, full of Kasher's sharp wit and sophistication.

The core of the band is Kasher on lead vocals and guitar, Ted Stevens on guitar and vocals and Matt Maginn on bass, and they are touring with Patrick Newbery on trumpet and keyboard.

The band performed tracks from the new album, including "I Couldn't Love You," "What Have I Done" and the hit single, "From the Hips." They also played tracks from older albums including "A Gentleman Caller" and "Rise Up, Rise Up!" The audience sang along with both the old and the new tunes, though it is obvious the band's new album has catapulted them into a place of more prominence.

This place of greater magnitude suits the band, touted as one of the most exciting and inventive rock bands of recent years. Cursive band members have constantly reinvented themselves during their career, starting circa 1997 when independent record label Saddle Creek, home to indie rock peers Bright Eyes, The Faint and Azure Ray, among others, was forming.

By the time Cursive released "Domestica" in 2000, the band was an underground success, but broke into the national consciousness in 2003 with the fourth album, "The Ugly Organ."

Cursive's Billings concert is all ages and is an early one, taking place at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. starting at 4:30 p.m. The band then heads to Missoula to perform Sunday at The Other Side.


Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

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