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Cursive Rocks the Winchester

Updated: Feb 10

Playing to a packed house Wednesday night (1/15) local Emo pioneers Cursive kicked off their new tour in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd. Joining the tour were pop punk thrashers Cloud Nothings and fellow Omaha natives Criteria.

Typically, a frigid night in Omaha means low show attendance, but when I pulled up to the Winchester Bar and Grill the parking lot was completely packed. After finding a parking spot down the road I braved the cold and made my way to the venue.

This was my first visit to the Winchester so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard it was a fairly small room, but I didn’t know much beyond that. Inside there was a full bar with a few pool tables and dining room seating. In the corner of the room was a stage area that sat only a few inches high. There was a small P.A. system, but it packed a pretty strong punch. Even with pro ear plugs my ears were ringing for a few days after.

The night started off with the local group Criteria. It had been about 15 years since I last saw them, coincidentally opening for Cursive at Sokol, but from what I remember they were pretty good back then. This time around was no different. A straight up rock and roll outfit with not a ton of frills, Criteria did a great job warming up the crowd.

Criteria was able to showcase some songs from their brand new release Years. According to the band’s bio, the record took a long time to produce, hence the title. After a few years on the road Criteria took a long break as several members found themselves taking new steps into adulthood, marriage, school, etc. Over the years the band never broke up and occasionally played gigs. Eventually all the pieces of the album came together and Criteria is excited to be releasing new music on 15 Passenger, a label owned and operated by Cursive. Criteria is joining Cursive for their two week trek across the West coast.

After Criteria was the pop thrash group Cloud Nothings. They sounded like a sped up version of the Strokes. Every song was an upbeat romp of swirling guitars and breakneck drums. After a good half hour the band ended their set with an explosion of sound that built and built putting everyone in a trance.

Cloud Nothing’s latest release Last Building Burning is available now.

Last up were the hometown heroes Cursive. I’ve seen Cursive probably a dozen times over the years but it had been a few years since our last encounter. I had gotten to Winchester a few minutes early so I was excited to have an up front spot with the band literally only feet away.

Cursive started the set with their latest single “Stranded Satellite” from their new album Get Fixed. A depressing little ditty about a man stranded in space, it set the tone for the evening. Cursive’s music is notoriously dark, but it’s often hidden under beautiful melodies.

Next was the song “Big Bang” from 2006’s Happy Hollow. It’s hard to believe that album was 14 years ago! For the rest of the set Cursive did something really smart and it’s something I wished more bands did, they alternated between a newer song, then a really old song.

Throwing it back to the Cursive album I was first introduced to 2000’s Domestica, the band played a personal favorite “The Martyr.” Released at the height of Emo/Post-Hardcore popularity, “The Martyr” features heavy distortion, jangly guitars, and just the right amount of scream vocals.

Towards the end of the set lead singer Tim Kasher thanked the crowd for all the support and for helping to send them off on their first night of the tour. It’s always a joy to see Tim doing what he does best. Though his lyrics can be somber and self-depreciating, he has an amazing stage presence and keeps the energy in the room really light and fun.

“It’s not easy being 25 and playing up here!”

“We did it! We’ve proven ourselves. We can come out on a Wednesday night and have some cold brews and go to work at 8 AM.”

“We’ve got two more songs.” A few people in the crowd groaned in disappointment. ” I know everyone in here is thinking “Thank goodness, there’s only two more.”

Cursive closed the set with one of their bigger hits “From the Hips” which features a building crescendo of guitars and trumpets. Tim held his guitar up triumphantly as the crowd screamed for more.

Being that I was right in front of him I had a really nice exchange with Tim as he walked off the stage. I thanked him for continuing to make great music and for all the years of awesome shows. He was really appreciative and said thanks for continuing to follow and support.

With how amazing Wednesday night’s show was there’s no doubt I’ll continue to follow as long as Cursive wants to keep going.

A huge thanks to the Winchester Bar and Grill for having me out and Cursive PR/Management for setting up photos.

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