Hey there little gothlings!
Did my Trash/Thrash Tuesday piece get you psyched up for some fun Cure action?
Here to tell you, little friends, their show last night in Burnaby BC was ah-fucking-mazing. I’ve seen The Cure before, in 2008 with Scotty Floronic at the pompous GM Place in Vancouver, BC. It seemed only fitting that eight years later we would return to see them again only this time at the Deer Lake Park Festival Lawn in Burnaby, BC.
Truth time – I’ve never been to Deer Lake Park, but I had heard good things.
Somehow in my tiny little goldfish brain, it didn’t occur to me that Deer Lake Park was fucking HUGE. Perhaps my time spent attending 100-500 person gigs in the last few years has colored my perception of concerts.
3000 or so people rolled out to Deer Lake Park. The event was massive and so was the grounds. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to such a large gathering. To put it into perspective, this event was roughly the size of the WHOLE Canada Day celebration in our town. Crazy, right?
I think my favourite part of the night had to have been the pre-show people watching. My application (as well as everyone else’s) to be a press attendant and photograph the show was denied, which allowed me some time to actually sit back and be a plebian (I’m kidding) attendee, and because of this I got to drink a whole shitload of Strongbow and eat pizza and watch goths.
The crowd was mixed, 40-50 year old goth moms and dads wearing the goth gear from the 1980s, random people on drugs, tiny little Japanese women, mall goths, lots of dudes who looked like Johnny Thunders for some reason, and of course, me in a black dress with a big ass Psychick Cross, my goat patch black denim jacket, no makeup, looking like the old hag I am. The aged crowd was amazing. As I stuffed myself up front of this massive venue with 50 year old dudes dressed like Robert Smith checking their smeared lipstick in their wives hand mirrors, pretentious goths making fun of the Urban Outfitters employees who proudly told anyone who would listen they had “waited 20 years” for this show, and the new generation of young goth teenagers with hard parts and sunglasses, there was this sense of camraderie that is absent at the broad majority of the shows I have been recently attending.
It was the older crowd who recognized my Psychick Cross, but the younger ones who commented on my tattoos. I held hands with an overweight older goth lady as we danced to The Twilight Sad.
I hadn’t originally thought I would enjoy the Twilight Sad, if only because it’s gotta be tough to be the opening act for a band like the Cure, a band that has spanned generations, years, and seemingly exists without drama. Robert Smith is private and so very rarely in the media. There are no drug overdoses, no scandals. He doesn’t enjoy interviews, he doesn’t use social media.
When I checked out some music by the Twilight Sad, I was pretty fucking hyped. It wasn’t boring pretentious hipster tripe, it wasn’t crappy rock and roll. It wasn’t metal. There was no screaming. What it was and is, however, is a strong representation of dark human emotion. James Graham is slight framed, his small body not quite matching up to the sheer power of his voice, and further to this, his seizure like movements on stage. His whole body shook like he was having a fit, or was possessed by some kind of force beyond his control. I’m not sure if he was channelling the fits that Ian Curtis used as a kind of dance during the Joy Division days, or if this is simply how he reacts to the music. At points he appeared to be talking to himself, or to someone, stopping to react to the sheer number of patrons in the audience stating, “I don’t think so many people have ever seen us play our music..”
In a time when a lot of bands get away with doing the bare minimum on stage, The Twilight Sad brought a sick and very honed performance. I was not expecting to be so engaged for their whole set and was pretty proud I was able to grab the photo of James with his eyes rolling back into his skull, completely possessed by that glorious wall of sound.
As for the Cure. What can I say here to convey the sheer ridiculous nature of this show. Thousands of people from all walks of life, converged to see this band.
When they came onstage to much fanfare and applause with me sandwiched between some goth dudes and a girl high on ecstasy who couldn’t have been older than 18, the whole thing seemed so surreal. This band has been with me for as long as music was in my home. My hands shook as me and everyone around me fumbled with cellphones to try to take pictures.
Robert Smith appears shy on stage. He is a rock star but he eschews that macho posturing, endeavouring instead to be quiet and brooding. He has nothing to prove.
The reason being – the Cure blew away every other act I’ve seen in the past while with only their opening song. Be it a combination of countless rehearsals, talent, or the legend living up to the fame, but the Cure is a fucking TIGHT act. The sound is fucking wonderful.
They went on shortly after 7pm, and played til 9:55pm, almost 3 solid fucking hours. The stage banter was minimal, and Robert only occaisionally spoke, once to say that “nothing makes me laugh”. RIDICULOUS.
I only spent a limited amount of time up front for the show. I get pretty anxious being jam packed into crowds with other people and I’m a very petite individual, so I wandered away to get Strongbow and people watch more. The Cure playing for three hours was a rare space for me to just enjoy the show, dance, talk to people and be so utterly nostalgic about this band that’s been with me for years.
This tour isn’t for the Urban Outfitters crowd who once heard a shitty remix of Friday I’m in Love while high on bad ecstasy at Coachella. This tour was deep cuts, B-sides and rarities. Friday I’m in Love wasn’t played. Neither was Lovecats (much to my chagrin), but so many odd tracks were. They played three encores, returning to greater and greater fanfare even as the crowd thinned.
I had an amazing time, and I highly recommend that if you’re a Cure fan to do your damndest to get tickets to this event. Beg, borrow, steal. Prostitute yourself for cheeseburgers.. Whatever you gotta do.