Live Review: Cursive’s Domestica; MAHA 8/13; and the winners are…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 2:00 pm January 19, 2011
Cursive at the Waiting Room, 1/18/11

Cursive at the Waiting Room, 1/18/11

By Tim McMahan,

The chatter in the crowd: How old were you when this album came out? Me, I don’t remember. What I do remember is interviewing the band a decade ago in the back room of the USA Baby store just east of 72nd on Dodge St. where Tim Kasher’s mom worked. Kasher had just moved back to Omaha. Ted Stevens had just joined the band. They were a tight, fun, happy bunch singing bitter, angry songs about Kasher’s broken heart. Cursive’s Domestica was the ultimate break-up album, whose cover art featured a young couple in strange, awkward embrace — a couple played by a cute young girl who would become the keyboardist/vocalist of Fortnight (and who looks as cute as ever) and a young guy who would become a Grammy Award winning CD sleeve designer. Domestica would eventually become recognized as Cursive’s epic masterpiece, and songs like “The Martyr” and “The Casualty” would become a permanent part of their set list for the next 10 years.

It didn’t matter if Kasher messed up the opening line of “The Casualty” or if he even remembered the words, because the SRO crowd at The Waiting Room last night spent the evening singing along like an indie rock Greek chorus — a happy soccer mob chanting anthems that have become part of their lives. The set honestly didn’t sound much different than when they first played the album top-to-bottom at Sokol Underground a decade ago. Kasher’s voice certainly hasn’t changed… much. The guitar interplay between Kasher and Stevens — the most distinctive element of the album — was as playfully distorted as ever.  As much as the songs themselves, it was that guitar style that I remember most about that album.

So yes, they played all the songs in order with no pauses or stage banter in between, and that’s just the way the crowd wanted to hear it. It’s a slim set — just a little over a half-hour — and that brevity has helped it age well. But while I have to admit that Casualty/Martyr are one of the best one-two punches in indie rock history, Domestica is not my favorite Cursive album, not anymore. That honor goes to 2003’s The Ugly Organ (which hopefully we’ll hear in its entirety in 2013). Regardless, Domestica is the band’s most important album. It’s the one that pushed them to the next level of national attention, at a time when everyone around the country was just beginning to whisper about what was happening in Omaha.

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The folks at the MAHA Music Festival announced this year’s dates/location — August 13 at Lewis and Clark Landing. The festival remains a one-day event, which makes it more of an all-day concert rather than a festival. Regardless, their growth won’t be contingent on the success or failure of the Red Sky Music Festival, but rather their willingness to take risks and go out on a limb with a line-up that will attract the gaze of the world outside of our city limits. Will they be successful? Come back tomorrow for the final part of this year’s 2011 music predictions and find out…

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And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Here are the winners of the Lazy-i Best of 2010 CD sampler:

Elizabeth A. Toepel, Morse Bluff, NE
Adrian Mejorado, Edinburg, TX
Cami Rawlings, Omaha, NE

Congratulations! And thanks to everyone who entered the drawing. See you next year!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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