Seminal indie rockers come to Che

    Omaha, Neb., is an unlikely place to find a music scene capable of spawning the likes of Cursive, a post-hardcore/indie rock band reminiscent of such touchstones as Fugazi and Quicksand. Yet there they are, blowing minds daily.

    Their most defining feature is the dynamic structures of their songs, which alternate between ear-splitting highs and intimate, whispering lows. Vocalist/guitarist Tim Kasher’s writing gives Cursive the kind of tension caused by these disparate extremes, and his epic vocal delivery mirrors the music impeccably.

    Formed in 1995 by Kasher and long-time friend Matt Maginn (bass/vocals), Cursive put out two full length albums, “”Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes”” (Crank! 1997) and “”The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song”” (Crank! 1998), before disbanding briefly in 1998. When they reunited, they had lost guitarist Stephen Pedersen to Duke University Law School and replaced him with current guitarist Ted Stephens. Prior to this, Kasher was the only songwriter in the band, making Stephens’ presence a potentially awkward addition. Yet Stephens was happy to keep out of the writing process, and the band has been none the worse for it. Cursive gained critical acclaim in the indie rock circuit with the 2000 release of “”Domestica”” (Saddle Creek), a loosely autobiographical account of Kasher’s turbulent marriage to his former wife. This record has since been heralded as possibly the greatest, most well-focused collection of songs in the indie rock world.

    In 2001, they released the five-song EP “”Burst and Bloom”” (Saddle Creek), which showcases the addition of cellist Gretta Cohn to the band’s roster. While her parts on this EP were tagged on after the songs had already been written, they add a refinement to the band’s otherwise knees-scraping-pavement rawness. Songs like the self-aware opus, “”Sink to the Beat”” and the space-age schizophrenia of “”Mothership, Mothership, Do You Read Me,”” make the brevity of this EP a complete tragedy.

    Yet Kasher is not solely interested in aggression and shattered windows. He is also involved in a project called Good Life, which is a showcase of the more introspective elements of his songwriting. While Cursive will gladly blow your speakers, Good Life’s volume is set firmly at medium. What started as a quiet solo effort has ballooned into a full-time band, on tour with such acts as Bright Eyes and Gloria Record.

    But this won’t slow Cursive’s momentum. Kasher and company have already begun work on their next full-length record, “”The Ugly Organ”” (set for release this March), which should be a proper showcase of Cohn’s cello playing in relation to the band’s overall sound.

    During the summer of 2002, just prior to a scheduled visit to San Diego’s own Che Cafe, bad luck befell Kasher when he suffered a collapsed lung, the unfortunate result of a genetic disorder he discovered in high school. The subsequent operation cost him a hunk of his lung and threw the band into a two-month hiatus. They were forced to cancel their Japanese tour to let Kasher recover. Last Friday, Cursive triumphantly returned to the Che once again, simultaneously cracking skulls and soothing hearts for a capacity crowd. The remaining unlucky hoards of people unable to make it in before the show sold out stubbornly huddled around the back door and windows for the duration of the show.

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