Cursive scrolls through the West

Indie rock band Cursive performs at the Westword’s Music Showcase in Denver, Colo.

This spring has already found me traveling from the mayhem that was the Sasquatch music festival in Washington to the more urban setting of Denver, Colo., last weekend to attend the Westword’s annual music festival.

The event, hosted by Denver’s free weekly arts and culture publication, featured a showcase of local musicians as well as a handful of well-known national acts.

Headlining the festival was indie rock band Built to Spill, though I was most excited to see Omaha, Nebr., rock band Cursive, also scheduled to perform in Billings Saturday, June 20. As I sidled thought the crowd to get a better view, craning my neck to see the band, I realized I was lucky to get to see them in a much more intimate setting at their upcoming show in Billings.

Photo of Cursive frontman Tim Kasher as he performs at the 2009 Westword Music Showcase in Denver, Colo.
Cursive frontman Tim Kasher as he performs at the 2009 Westword Music Showcase in Denver, Colo.

Cursive sounded flawless live. Lead singer Tim Kasher is an animated performer, using his hands to gesture as he sings as his angst-ridden vocals projected between Downtown’s buildings.

Cursive is in the midst of a national tour after releasing its seventh album in May. Mama I’m Swollen is an album swarming with explorations of life’s heartbreak and mystique, full of Kasher’s sharp wit and sophistication. The core of the band is Kasher on lead vocals and guitar, Ted Stevens on guitar and vocals, and Matt Maginn on bass, and they are currently touring with Patrick Newbery on trumpet and keyboard.

The band performed tracks from the new album, including “I Couldn’t Love You,” “What Have I Done,” and the hit single, “From the Hips,” but also tracks from older albums including “A Gentleman Caller” and “Rise Up, Rise Up!” The audience sang along with both the old and the new tunes, though it is obvious the band’s new album has catapulted them into a place of more prominence.

This place of greater magnitude suits the band, touted as one of the most exciting and inventive rock bands of recent. Cursive has constantly reinvented themselves during their career, starting circa 1997 when independent record label Saddle Creek, home to indie rock peers Bright Eyes, The Faint, Azure Ray, among others, was forming.

By the time Cursive released Domestica in 2000, they were an underground success, but broke into the national consciousness in 2003 with their fourth album, The Ugly Organ.

Cursive’s Billings concert on Saturday is all ages and is an early one, taking place at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. starting at 4:30 p.m. The band then heads to Missoula to perform Sunday at The Palace.

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