Cursive wrapped up their ‘Ugly Organ’ NYC run at Saint Vitus with Beach Slang & The Nighty Nite (pics, setlists)
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Cursive / Beach Slang @ Saint Vitus - 3/12/15
Following two sold-out Bowery Ballroom shows, Cursive played the third and final NYC show of their Ugly Organ tour at Saint Vitus last night (3/12), which was also sold out. Rather than playing it straight through, Cursive opted to play a set that spans their last 15 years as a band but works in every Ugly Organ song and two outtakes from that era (which both appear on the new expanded reissue). And making these shows extra special, former Cursive member Gretta Cohn who played cello on The Ugly Organ was back in the fold for all three NYC shows.
After opening with "Sink to the Beat" and "Big Bang," Ugly Organ intro "The Ugly Organist" began playing over the PA and Tim Kasher met the crowd's cheers with a knowing grin and saying "It's that time..." into the mic, before the band went into the raucous "Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand." Immediately the crowd at Vitus broke out into a huge pit, making the effect that The Ugly Organ still has on Cursive fans very clear. These are songs that people connected to and obsessed over, but another thing that makes this revisitation so successful is how interesting these songs still sound 12 years later. For better or for worse, Cursive often get called an emo band, but there's a lot more to their shows than fans yelling along to their favorite lyrics. Watching Cursive deliver the intricacies, unconventional (for rock) chord progressions, and the unique string and horn arrangements of The Ugly Organ last night, it felt like something that would have won me over even if I had no personal attachment to it.
Providing direct support to Cursive were their tourmates Beach Slang, who Tim Kasher called "the best band in America" from the stage. Even opening a sold-out show for a much bigger band, Beach Slang manage to fill the room with enough people who can sing along to them loud enough for everyone to hear. James Snyder ditched his mic more times than I've ever seen him do before to let the crowd take over, and it never once failed. In addition to playing almost everything off their two great 2014 EPs, Beach Slang played a few new tracks, presumably off their upcoming debut LP on Polyvinyl, and they all sounded just as killer as the older songs. They also honored their influences with a couple covers, The Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait" and The Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way."
The show began with a duo set from John Congleton and the NIghty Nite. You may know John best as the producer for a ton of great bands including Swans, St. Vincent and The Mountain Goats, the latter of which his own music sounded most similar to.
More pictures of all three bands, including pics of Cursive and Beach Slang's setlists, below...
John Congleton & The Nighty Nite