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   Now in our fifth calendar year
    PCR #227  (Vol. 5, No. 31)  This edition is for the week of July 26--August 1, 2004.
The Digital Divide by Terence Nuzum
CONCERT REVIEW    by Terence Nuzum

Curiosa Festival
featuring

The Cure
w/ Interpol, The Rapture, Mogwai

Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa, FL. July 25 2004

Around 4:30pm, me and about a thousand other Cure fans draped in black T-shirts spread out across the Florida State Fairgrounds like a black ocean. Of course, we are sweating our mopey asses off, paying 20 bucks for food, and buying 30-dollar band Tees. All in devotion, of course, to our leader, Robert Smith of The Cure.

Oh, of course there were other bands there--but let's face it, who was there for them...for example I didn't even wander to the second stage which had various radio bands and that ever awful shit fest of music, the band who calls themselves Cursive. Even though I was there to see one of my favorite bands of all time I did, in fact, want to see the other performers on the main stage. I mean look at the line up, Mogwai, The Rapture, and Interpol. In other words, not bad. In fact, awesome. I was secretly more excited about seeing Mogwai than I let on and all I can say is that after their performance---no...after the experience---of Mogwai, I was simply blown away.

Each band had roughly 30 minutes on stage before it was time for the bands destined for the "I'm a crap band on stage 2" came on. So Mogwai comes out and performs what? Their 30-minute epic "My Father, My king". Starting off with that haunting guitar line and thundering drums they ease into utter guitar chaos which came off like a deadly thunderstorm that ended with the group pounding their guitars and twisting knobs into oblivion before leaving the instruments on the ground to emit their rock n' roll pain screeching out of the speakers in a fury of white noise. Several middle age and middle class Cure fans seem like they just got swatted by the hand of god as the roadies in unison shut off the speakers. I'll say it again: I was utterly blown away. It was like witnessing Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth all in one. Their live shows are legendary in the UK and now I know why.

Next up was The Rapture who would of course bring the dance to the Goths. They shimmied and they shaked and brought the house down all Gang of Four style. That's about it really...they were The Rapture.

Interpol (my favorite of the new NYC bands) entered the stage after about half an hour and played songs off their last album plus some tracks from their forthcoming Antics album. Oddly, they didn't seem to be at their best, speeding through their old numbers like they were punk anthems instead of indie rock. When I saw them at the State Theatre they seemed more focused. The new songs, which weren't named, sound good but now even more than before, they have taken the mantle of Joy Division as all the new tracks more than evoke Ian Curtis' ghost. Sitting there I was thinking it was like Curtis never died; he simply possessed some kid named Paul Banks and made a new band. In other words, I'm not complaining--if Interpol isn't original and as much as those other millions of Joy Division fans may say otherwise, chances are they aren't either.

Around 8:30 the sun started to go down and the breeze came in and after not too long Robert Smith and The Cure came onto the stage. The weather and the timing couldn't have been better. Here it was, me and all those other dysfunctional goth kids became one. The uber-Goths, the punk-Goths, the psuedogoths , and the dysfunctial unclassifiable wearers of black all were there for the same reason: to relive our pain, our loves,and our sadness with The Cure. They started off with the opening track of their new self-titled album. The sun finally set as Robert Smith blared out the words "I can't find myself, I can't find myself" and we all knew what he meant, we know it too. Immediately after, he went into another new track, the psyschedelic "Labyrinth" and then came the classics like "In Between Days", and of course, the hits off of Disintegration. Disintigration, the album that made the Cure survive past the '80s, was, and is, their defining record.

Hearing the first chords of "Fascination Street" gave me goosebumps and it only continued as they went into "Lullaby" and "Pictures Of You". To make it complete they played my favorite Cure song, "One Hundred Years". It's hard to understand how the lines "What does it matter if we all die?" followed by an apocalyptic guitar line could bring me happiness, but it does. This line was the beginning of a movement in 1982 and it holds resonance today. They ended the set with the last swirling epic off the new album "Promise". Of course we wouldn't let them go, and they came back to play, among other things, one of their earliest masterpieces, "The Forest", and then Smith said thank you and bowed smiling---'cus even though it wasn't billed as such you could tell this tour was the accumulation of a great pop and rock band that has been going strong since 1979 and knows it.

It was not a reunion but a thank you and gift to all the fans who have kept them alive and sweated in their black T-shirts in the sun for them and though some of the songs were sad and some terrifying and some harsh truth it came off as a thing of beauty. Because, if anything, Smith has taken the burden of expressing these things for us and letting us have something and someone to relate to. This can't be stressed enough and is probably the reason they have a large fan base. Now seeing them in concert I believe this more because when Smith says thank you to the audience (about after every song even) he means it and you can tell.

The best concert I've been to and an experience I will never forget. I was watching a legend in this band, the modern version of the Beatles to millions of depressed teens since the early '80s. No concert will be better or more stuck in my mind and memories than this.


"The Digital Divide" is ©2004 by Terence Nuzum..  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.