Cursive frontman Tim Kasher formerly called the Windy City home, which made the band’s return visit to Thalia Hall a homecoming after more than three years away.
And truly, what a Chicago-ass show it was.
Openers Meatwave and Campdogzz also hail from the 3rd largest city in America and set the tone for the evening, a night so teeming with the working spirit of the Midwest, one could practically taste the Malört in the air. Though Thalia felt a touch roomy–it was, after all, a brutally, unseasonably cold Thursday–fellow aged emos showed up despite their day jobs and an 8:30 show time to catch Cursive on their US tour in support of their new album Vitriola, the first out on the band’s own label, 15 Passenger.
Vitriola marks the return of the instrument that first separated the band from its peers in the early aughts: the cello. Megan Siebe is a newcomer to the band and replaces Gretta Cohn, now a public radio producer for WNYC, who wrote and recorded cello for the band’s 2003 breakout The Ugly Organ on the infamous Omaha-based Saddle Creek Records.
The group celebrated the cello’s reintroduction by digging deep into their catalog of eight full-length releases. Old favorites like “The Martyr” from 2000’s Domestica were reinvigorated alongside Vitriola standouts “It’s Gonna Hurt” and “Ouroboros.” For a band that’s been around more than two decades now, Kasher and company sounded as fresh as ever, filling the Pilsen theatre to its soaring ceilings.
Aforementioned openers Meatwave brought their own strong showing of friends and fans, experimenting for the first time with two drummers, with each splitting duties for the tour. It proved to be ridiculous fun, even if just for one show. 2017’s The Incessant is out now on SideOneDummy.
Campdogzz’s latest is this year’s In Rounds and was also released by Cursive’s 15 Passenger label.