Indie rock fans at UCSB were in for a treat when the punk-pop band Cursive performed last Friday night at the Hub, as they had their first opportunity in almost a decade to see the group play in Santa Barbara.
“It has been seven years since we’ve played a show in Santa Barbara,” bassist Matt Maginn said.
Opening up the show that night were My Friend Sam and Facing New York, who were really from NorCal and evidently proud of it, given the number of times the singer reminded the audience of that fact throughout their set.
Facing New York can only be described as a flood of sound. With two drum sets, two keyboards, two guitars and a bass, there was never a quiet moment on stage. The band played an almost entirely non-stop set with the drummer banging away like the Energizer Bunny.
As much fun as the band was having with the sub-headliners, the audience’s energy was not properly piqued until the four-piece Omaha group brought out their pocket full of chaos. With their new drummer Cornbread Compton cuing it up, Cursive kicked off the set with “Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand,” a favorite from their 2003 album The Ugly Organ. Amid the excitement, one guy decided to jump onstage and proceeded to rock out with the band members until CSOs grabbed him. But the front row pulled him out of the hands of the authorities and back into the safety of the crowd.
The band welcomed the enthusiasm.
“They totally won that,” singer Tim Kasher said of the battle between authorities and audience.
When Kasher invited everyone to “sing along, I’m on the ugly organ,” sing the crowd did. Breathless and drenched in the smell of booze, the crowd belted out every word of the 18-song set. The band played some old-time favorites – “Art Is Hard,” “Making Friends and Acquaintances” and “Butcher the Song” – as well as newer ones from their most recent album, Happy Hollow, which came out just last year. They also played four brand-new songs as a token to show “how honored we are to be here,” as Kasher put it. The band was called back for an encore, which they executed impeccably, leaving the audience with nothing to complain about.