In mid-November when Cursive announced their tour dates for 2012, I immediately marked my calendar to spend Valentine’s Day with Tim Kasher. This announcement obviously coming long before any of the tracks from their new album, I Am Gemini began streaming online. In fact, the official release date of the album isn’t until tomorrow, February 21st. But Cursive will inevitably and consistently lure me to their shows, regardless of any unfamiliarity I have with a new album. Certainly I am not only speaking for myself when I say I attend the shows for crowd favorites and Cursive setlist staples, like “The Recluse” and “Dorothy at Forty.”

Surprisingly enough, last Tuesday’s show was my first visit to the venue, Urban Lounge, but it didn’t take me long at all to find the bar. I suppose I owe the opening band, Mount Moriah an apology as I spent the majority of their set drinking, instead of listening. Fortunately, though I was attentive and remained relatively coherent for the band next up: Ume. Now, Cursive is a longtime favorite of mine- I obviously spent my Valentine’s Day at this concert for a reason. But I would be lying if I said Cursive’s set was the most memorable of the evening. Ume unexpectedly blew me away.

I was immediately mesmerized by Lauren Larson on that goddamned guitar. The intensity radiating from the stage permeated the crowd and it was apparent that I wasn’t the only one blown away by Ume’s passion. Previously unfamiliar with this band, I was taken aback by Larson’s towering stage presence; I honestly did not expect such a colossal sound out of such a small woman. She owned that small stage and the energy from the entire band was exhilarating. Ume’s set definitely out shined Cursive’s for me.

Although it is accurate that by the time Cursive took the stage, I had consumed a considerable amount of Jim Beam and that obviously had a great deal to do with my memory impairment, but their set was just not as memorable as I had hoped. It was not terrible by any means; Tim Kasher delivered with his brooding charisma as always. The aforementioned crowd favorites were played and sung along to and the new tracks from I Am Gemini were rolled out, to the audience’s approval. There is something about Kasher’s lyrics that allows- encourages, even- the listener to wallow in pity and despair without feeling self loathing or guilty.

Despite it being a dying approach, the new album, I Am Gemini is a concept album, much like the bulk of Cursive’s previous albums. But instead of following broken relationships, lust or religious ideologies this album deals with duality- twin brothers, Cassius and Pollock, who have been reunited after being separated at birth. The cliche one good twin/one evil twin theme is present, but there is room left to interpret whether they are twins or two sides of the same coin. I find the lyrics fascinating; Kasher’s dedication is recognizable and appreciated and that makes the album worth a listen, or at the very least a skim through the lyrics- but the twins definitely aren’t Dorothy or The Ugly Organ.

All in all, the show was enjoyable. Attending Cursive at Urban Lounge was a great experience- it was thrilling to be a part of such a frenzied crowd to see Tim Kasher up close and personal. As for Ume, since the show I have not stopped listening to them. I’ve discovered that they are one of those rare bands who’s ferocity translates between live and recorded sound. I am thoroughly impressed and cannot wait for the chance to see them live again.

Here are a couple videos from the show.