August 17, 2012
Cursive and Titus Andronicus played the House of Vans
The Vans House Parties don't exactly provide the most intimate or acoustic friendly setting, but that didn't stop people from showing up to another free concert (complete with an open bar!) along the Williamsburg / Greenpoint border. After sets from Joyce Manor and Love as Laughter, an onslaught of people flooded the venue for New Jersey punks Titus Andronicus. Their adrenaline fueled set consisted of excellent new material from their recently announced third album Local Business as well as highlights from their great debut and killer sophomore record, The Monitor. Raspy shouts from front man Pat Stickles pumped up the crowd for some intense outbursts complete with flying fists and grand sing-a-longs. However, it was their epic finale that really took things to the next level. The medley of "A More Perfect Union" and "Titus Andronicus Forever" was the peak of their performance and extended solos were more than welcome from screaming fans and proved that the night really was theirs for the taking. Despite occupying the headlining slot, the crowd was significantly smaller before Saddle Creek veterans Cursive took to the stage. While Titus Andronicus proved that they are an important band in 'the now', the remainder of the evening was much of a nostalgia trip that accented the golden days of Emo long before it acquired the derogatory connotation. As the 90s came to a close, Cursive were a part of the final frontier along with the Get-Up Kids, Jimmy Eat World, and Saves the Day (among many others). Long before the days of Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte, Cursive blended slicing guitar riffs, obnoxious yells (Pitchfork described Tim Kasher's voice as "the worst great voice in indie rock"), and hardcore rhythms and produced overlooked records that meant a lot to a certain group of people. While their recent work has fallen short in comparison, the men still stick to their guns. After playing deep cuts from their classics Domestica and The Ugly Organ, Tim kicked off the encore saying "Thank you for letting us be old rockers" and then directly plunging into "Sierra". The crowd may have dwindled as the night came to a close, but those who stuck around didn't waste an ounce of energy and the intensity never let up. They may be met with rolled eyes, but for those who grew up with them, they will always be a band that lost their genre to the malls.