People always find a reason to come back to Champaign in the summer. Most of the reasons, however, usually relate to alcohol. From Greek Reunion to just wanting to experience bomb night again, townies aren’t the only ones stumbling down the street in the sweltering summer heat. Canopy Club changed that this month, though, with a concert that no one really expected but everyone really enjoyed. The lineup consisted of bands with mostly the same sound, but each brought something different to the table.
The first band, Little Brazil, had a good melody but lacked any unique features. Their music was slow, melodic and had a raw indie touch to it, similar to old Weezer. Singer Landon Hedges stood barely over 5 feet tall with thick glasses and an inability to keep the strings on his guitar in one piece. Bassist Dan Maxwell kept the energy alive onstage with constant movement and too many penis jokes whenever Hedges had to repair his guitar. Although Little Brazil encouraged the crowd to shake their ass, the most audience participation occurred when Little Brazil encouraged the crowd to chant penis pump. Songs to check out include “Now” and “Pointing Fingers.”
The second act, Make Believe, was much less sober than the first band. Their music had potential, but singer Tim Kinsella was so obnoxiously drunk that it was hard to focus on anything but his ridiculous stage antics. Kinsella constantly threw his mic cord into the crowd, hooking it on the heads of audience members. He also made a point to show off the hole in his pants, spread his cheeks and preceded to show off his beer belly while he stumbled around stage in attempts at some sort of dance. When Kinsella was not showing off his dance moves on stage, he was jumping into the audience or bumming cigarettes and beer from the crowd.
The songs were, to say the least, strange. “Fumio Nambata Had a Farm” off of their album Shock of Being was probably the weirdest, yet most amusing of the set with a chorus that consisted of grunts similar to that of a dying animal.
Make Believe is actually from Chicago, so it would not be unreasonable to think they will be paying Champaign another visit in the future. Whether that is a blessing or a curse, however, is up to the listener.
Omaha, Nebraska, native Cursive started off with “Big Bang,” a song off their upcoming Aug. 22 release, Happy Hollow. “Big Bang” happens to be guitarist Ted Stevens’ favorite track on the upcoming record. The song has been in the making for three years with some minor musical changes and has developed nicely.
Cursive started out as a four-piece band but added cello player Gretta Cohn in 2001. After playing on a split EP and the band’s last release, The Ugly Organ, Cohn left the band in August 2005.
The four original members still stand with an assortment of horn players and a new cello player on tour with them this time around.
“Horns on the last record were low in the mix, they accented the frequency,” Stevens said, emphasizing the low lows and high highs.
“This time around we’re the band from the Domestica era,” said Stevens, with the assortment of instruments on tour and a lineup possessing
a “faithful new spirit.”
Cursive played some great tracks off two of their best albums, Domestica and The Ugly Organ. This assortment included “The Martyr,” “Red Handed Sleight of Hand” and “Art is Hard.” Toward the end of the set when Cursive burst into their greatest tracks, the once seemingly tame crowd bloomed into a mass of energy, pushing and screaming along to the lyrics that were presumably some of their life anthems based on the amount of Cursive tattoos spotted in the crowd.
Fans can look forward to Happy Hollow being
a back-to-basics record written by the four-piece band that every scenester has come to know and love.
“Musically at no point did it seem the process was changing or limited,” Stevens said, even with the loss of Cohn. There is nothing shockingly departing on the record; this is the Domestica Cursive back in action.