Emo fans are notorious for being overly passionate about bands they love, and the black-clad crowd hugging the stage at the Blue Note in Columbia, Mo., for Cursive and Jeremy Enigk on Nov. 11 was no e
Emo fans are notorious for being overly passionate about bands they love, and the black-clad crowd hugging the stage at the Blue Note in Columbia, Mo., for Cursive and Jeremy Enigk on Nov. 11 was no exception.
Although most of the adolescent mob was there to obsess over the boys from Omaha, a handful of people seemed more elated to see the former frontman of Sunny Day Real Estate make his return.
Enigk, who in October released his first solo album in a decade, "World Waits," manned the stage all alone and relied solely on his guitar and keyboard to carry him through the brief set. Starting out on guitar, he opened with "Abegail Anne" from his 1996 debut, "Return of the Frog Queen," before moving into new material.
"This album is about laziness," he joked with the crowd before settling in front of the keyboard for "Canons," his vocals shining through despite the stripped-down take. "Burn" followed, which found Enigk singing an octave lower and delivering a heartfelt piano solo at the end.
From there the singer continued with U2's 1987 "Joshua Tree" classic "Running To Stand Still" and concluded the set with two more tunes from "Frog Queen," "Shade and the Black Hat" and a tender rendition of "Explain."
The tranquil mood established during Enigk's performance was shattered as soon as Cursive busted onto the stage. A brass section flanked the band, which is now back to a core four-piece following the departure of cellist Gretta Cohn, in order to recreate the sound from Cursive's latest, and most ambitious, album, "Happy Hollow."
The buoyant, pop-oriented vibe of "Happy Hollow" took on a much heavier tone live, particularly with the spastic horn bursts and sprawling guitars on "Big Bang" and "Dorothy at Forty." But the bulk of the set focused on material from Cursive's back catalog, which pleased diehard fans who were screaming along with frontman Tim Kasher's every raw shriek and howl.
"Gentleman Caller" and "Art Is Hard" from 2003's "The Ugly Organ" packed the hardest punch, as did the splintering guitars mixed with pumped-up instrumentation on "The Martyr" and "Red Handed Sleight of Hand" from 2000's classic "Domestica." The band even brought out the rarity "A Disruption in the Normal Swing of Things" from last year's "The Difference Between Houses and Homes" compilation.
By far the biggest highlight of the evening was the encore-closing "Sink to the Beat," from 2001's "Burst and Bloom" EP. During the extended breakdown, Converse-wearing rushed into the mosh pit, whacking two clearly out of place girls upside the head in the process. By the end of the song, they looked as though they could scream or burst into tears, which, after all, is about as emo as you can get.
Here is Jeremy Enigk's set list:
"River to Sea"
"Running to Stand Still"
"Set It on Fire"
"Shade and the Black Hat"
Here is Cursive' set list:
"Making Friends and Acquaintances"
"Butcher the Song"
"Hymns for the Heathen"
"The Lament of Pretty Baby"
"A Disruption in the Normal Swing of Things"
"Dorthy at Forty"
"Red Handed Sleight of Hand"
"Opening the Hymnal/Babies"
"Art Is Hard"
"Sink to the Beat"