The Summit, Columbus, January 21
by Dorian S. Ham

There’s a special kind of love when a band can sell out a venue on a cold Wednesday night, two years removed from its last record without a new one on the immediate horizon. But such is the love Columbus has for the men of Cursive.

There seems to be a two-way love affair between the city and the band. In the past, Cursive has played “secret” shows in Columbus at dive bars that seem crowded with 50 people, let alone the couple of hundred that seemed to squeeze into every available space. To say that their fanbase is rabid may be an understatement.

But even with that knowledge, Wednesday night’s show was a revelation. When the band, augmented by a keyboard/trumpet player and at one point a violinist, took the stage and launched into “Sierra” people didn’t kind of sing along. They roared at the top of their lungs like an old school church revival—and the band fed off that energy. Freed from having to pimp a new record, the band dove into to its back catalog bringing a little bit for everyone. “Dorothy At Forty,” “Sink To The Beat,” “The Recluse” and “Some Red-Handed Sleight of Hand” all came into play.

The only downside was that the band might have played too hard, as by the middle of the set lead singer Tim Kasher’s voice sounded as if he was gargling with shredded wheat. But instead of packing it in, he pushed through and performed like a man possessed, though before he decided to iron man through it, he recruited a newly minted 21-year-old girl to take the lead on “A Gentleman Caller.” Well, to be fair she hopped on stage and suggested the song, so Kaiser told her, “If you manage the bulk of it, I’ll help out.”

What followed wasn’t exactly a star-making moment as the girl stood frozen, barely able to open her mouth. But instead of leaving her hanging, the crowd and a fellow who appeared out of nowhere to jump on stage and sing the last two verses, more than made up for her silence by singing along so manically Kaiser eventually said screw it and took over the lead. While the show could have played out as a night for the diehards, there was no way anyone left as anything but a true believer.