Live Review: Cursive on Letterman, TSITR exposed; NOMO, Tokyo Police Club tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 8:00 pm March 16, 2009

First, Cursive on Letterman Friday night: Probably the best live network performance by a local band so far, and there have been a few (Bright Eyes, Mystic Valley, The Faint, Tilly). Kasher’s voice never sounded better, and the band was on point (They even got help from a few members of the CBS Orchestra). But the best part was that the CBS studio actually sounded good for a change. The band even looked like they got dressed up for the occasion — jackets and ties, as if headed to a First Communion brunch. Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed that the guy behind the drumkit wasn’t Cornbread Compton. Jason Kulbel at Saddle Creek tells me it was Cully Symington (Zykos, 1986). With the last chords of “From the Hip,” Dave bounded from the stage and asked, “Where you from?” “Omaha, Nebraska,” said Matt Maginn. “Omaha Nebraska? I’ll be damned. Nice job.” Dave said, pumping Matt’s hand and looking genuinely impressed. In case you missed it, here’s the performance YouTube.

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Darren Keen went “all in” in a “Full Monty” sort of way at The Show Is the Rainbow CD release show Saturday night at The Waiting Room. Halfway through the second-to-last song, Darren dropped trow while performing from inside the crowd. He eventually climbed back on stage au natural and grabbed a guitar, and then slid his jeans back on for an encore. His “full disclosure” had the audience of around 200 in a state of shock and awe and ew. As funny as it was, Darren’s glistening buttocks may actually have taken away from the performance, not because it offended anyone, but because it’s the only thing those on hand will be talking about Monday morning, instead of what they should be talking about: His music. Ironically, halfway through his set I was thinking how he’d proven all the naysayers wrong, those who had lazily compared his past performances to a Har Mar Superstar freak show. There was no shtick to this set — just Darren, his samples, electric guitar and voice, along with his high energy stage — and floor — antics. The songs from Wet Fist got some added oomph from TWR’s huge low end, and had Keen had the necessary lighting and strobes, he could have had that crowd dancing like it was a Faint concert. But in the end, the only thing anyone will remember is his “set” within his set. Ah well, it was fun, but afterward I wondered if Darren planned on “dropping his tool belt” at every show on tour. Not likely. He doesn’t want to pull a Jim Morrison and end up scrounging for bail money in a southern town that doesn’t take that sort of thing lightly. Keen will be hard-pressed as it is to play both a TSITR and a Beep Beep set every night for the next few weeks. It’s an enormous challenge that will leave him either in a hospital suffering from exhaustion or America’s next big thing, or both.

Speaking of next big things, Lincoln’s UUVVWWZ opened the show with its usual panache. Teal Gardner is our Debbie Harry, our Karen O. Mesmerizing in her own way, could anyone be more relaxed on stage and still bring it the way she does? Funniest part of the set: When the bass player’s guitar strap became unstuck. “Anyone got any duct tape?” he asked from stage. In the end, the soundman came through with a jumbo roll.

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Tonight at The Waiting Room, it’s the post-Afrobeat stylings of NOMO, along with dance giants Satchel Grande. $10, 9 p.m. Also tonight, Tokyo Police Club plays at The Slowdown with Ra Ra Riot and Ruby Coast. $15, 9 p.m.

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