So last night, the 25th of March, I spent my evening at the House of Blues. The lineup? The Dear and Departed, Cursive, and Alkaline Trio, in that order. Cursive has been my favorite band for almost ten years at this point. Holy shit! I've liked something the same amount for ten years! Naturally, I wish they had headlined the show, but I understood the situation. Alkaline Trio has been around just as long as Cursive, AND they just released a CD a couple of weeks ago. And they've been on a major label, so they're arguably more famous, blah blah blah.
I made sure to get to the show early, because: A. I have OCD! B. This show was kind of pricey (granted, I got a 2 for 1 deal, so it cost me thirty dollars for two tickets, which isn't that bad. However, if you are quick, you will realize that means that without the deal, ONE ticket cost thirty dollars, which is too much! What you might not immediately realize is that the actual ticket only cost eighteen dollars. The fees for one ticket cost nine dollars! That is fifty percent of the ticket price, which is an outrageous percentage! I almost didn't go out of spite.) Since the show cost so much, I wanted to get my money's worth and see the opening band.
I should have known from their name (which is a bad name,) but the Dear and Departed would have been worth the money if I had spent free dollars, because they are not worth any money.
My first thought upon hearing their opening song was that it kind of sounded like Angels and Airwaves. Uh-oh! And then they continued to play for a half-hour, and it all sounded like the same awful opening song. Boo! Here's their setlist:
Next was Cursive. This was going to make the fourth time I've seen them. The first was with the Take Action Tour in 2002 at the very same House of Blues, and they played with Common Rider, Thursday, Poison the Well, and someone else. That was a good show that for some reason inspired the band not to come back for seven years. In 2006, I saw them in Houston with Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate and some other band with a name I can't remember. This was great because Jeremy Enigk is great, with or without SDRE. The third time was last November at One Eyed Jacks with Capgun Coup (boo!) and Caddywhompus (hooray!) I thought that show would have been packed, you know, because the best band was playing that night, but not so many people were there. The people who didn't go must have something wrong with their brains!
Anyway, Cursive has been great every time I've seen them, and Tim Kasher has been great because he is usually very drunk, and therefore, fun to watch! He has one of the best live voices around. This doesn't mean that he sounds exactly like the CD; on the contrary, he usually doesn't try to sound like the CD. Instead, he will vary rhythms (because he is very rhythmic!), or replace certain words, sounds, or silences with pained screams. The best!
This show was no different from all the rest. Even though they only played for 45 minutes, they packed that time period with excellence, and played a nice assortment of songs from across their discography except for their first two CDs, which is okay, because no one really wants to hear those. But they didn't play anything from their Eight Teeth to Eat You split, and they never do, which is crazy. You would think that by now someone would have told them that Excerpts from Various Notes is their best song. Oh well, they didn't have a cello anyway, though they did have a dude playing keyboards and trumpets (and they did play a number of songs from The Ugly Organ, which is basically known as their "CD with the cello," but cello or not, they had to play songs from that because that is great and everyone loves it and if they didn't play anything from it, there would have been a Teenage Riot!) They had four Mama, I'm Swollen songs, which I must say, has grown on me considerably, and sounds pretty great live. The rest of the set consisted of three songs from Ugly Organ, two from Happy Hollow, and one each from Domestica and the Burst & Bloom EP.
Here's their set list, pretty complete (but not in the right order.):
1. Sink to the Beat
2. The Martyr
3. Dorothy at Forty
4. Big Bang
5. From the Hips
6. I Couldn't Love You
7. Let Me Up
8. Mama, I'm Swollen
9. Some Red-Handed Sleight of Hand
10. Art is Hard
11. A Gentleman Caller.
Finally, there was Alkaline Trio, and it seems like most of the crowd was there to see them. While I was certainly interested in seeing them (they haven't played a show here in over ten years,) I'm not really a huge Alkaline Trio fan. Their first CD, Goddammit! is fantastic, and the song Private Eye, from their fourth CD From Here to Infirmary, is also great. That's about it.
I know lots of people like that song Radio, but these people need to realize that Radio is just okay, although it does have that line "Shakin' like a dog shitting razorblades" which is a really fucked up image. This is good because it is very descriptive and memorable and this is bad because it makes me think of a sad sickly dog trying to shit out razorblades.
But I don't hate them. I don't hate Radio. It's just that most of their songs sound the same. They all sound pretty good, but I have a really hard time telling one song apart from the other, and thusly, they are really boring. It seems like Matt Skiba and Cindy from the Brady Bunch found a book that explained "How to write a pop-punk song," and it explained that all their songs should be the same tempo and have the same intensity and that no one wanted to hear about drinking anymore and that they should write about spooky things and blood.
So they played, and they were pretty good, but like i said, it was boring because all their songs sound EXACTLY the same and Jeremy (Blum!) and I kept thinking every song was the first song from Good Mourning that goes "Step 1: Slit my throat! Step 2: Play in my blood! Step 3: Cover me in dirty sheets and run laughing out the house" which is so overly violent that it is silly and seems like someone writing a parody of an Alkaline Trio song. Anyway, we kept trying to sing that part because it always sounded like it might fit but it never did.
They did, however, play Private Eye! Very good! And throughout the show, I kept wishing for them to play a song from Goddammit, but knew in my heart that they probably wouldn't because that's their first CD and they've released six full lengths and two rarity compilations since then (!) so they have lots of other songs that they'd rather play about ghosts and goblins. Anyway, I vocalized this hope as "I hope they play Clavicle" because that's a great song, and guess what happened you got it THEY PLAYED CLAVICLE.
By this time, I wanted to leave because they played everything I wanted to hear and was willing to bet that they wouldn't play anything else interesting. Also, the place was pretty crowded, and I was getting kind of claustrophobic and tired from standing in one place. And, of course, my head had exploded after they played Clavicle, so I needed to go and take care of that. They left the stage, and then came back for the encore, and as they did this, I left. Yes, I know that they probably played Radio, and everyone probably went crazy, but I didn't want to go crazy, I wanted to go home.
But before that, I went to Taco Bell. Then home.
A good night!