Hard Rock Café on the Strip, Nov. 7

Either indie-rock band Cursive took a wrong turn on the way to play Vegas and ended up in Elmore City, Okla., or dancing suddenly became outlawed here—much to Kevin Bacon’s imagined dismay.

I’m not sure when it became uncool to toe-tap or bob your head to the beat. But the vast majority of the crowd chose to stare in frozen-bodied judgment, as Cursive played the slot sandwiched between Girl in a Coma and Minus the Bear.

That’s not to say this was because everyone hated the band—quite the opposite. The audience was a sea of statues as front man Tim Kasher practically ripped his heart out and threw it on the stage for everyone to see and even stomp on if they so chose—he probably would have been ecstatic to see some sort of rise out of them. In contrast, the cheers concluding songs left you wondering if those applauding were the same people who stared blankly for the previous four minutes while Cursive ran through a gamut of everything indie is supposed to be, keyboard/trumpet player included. 

“This is all going really well for us onstage,” Kasher said partway through the set. “I don’t know if you asked for a progress report.” He also tried to warm up the hot-and-cold audience by declaring, “Hey, it’s better than going to a Danny Gans show, right?” (We’re pretty sure he didn’t mean that ironically and just isn’t up to date on who’s still headlining the Strip … or who’s still alive and kicking.) Mixed-message audience aside, Cursive’s setlist selection was spot-on, channeling fan favorites such as “Art Is Hard,” “The Radiator Hums” and “The Recluse.” “Let’s have one last freakout!” Kasher made a last-ditch effort to get everyone moving as they closed out with “Dorothy at Forty.” As only a few more people started to move, it didn’t matter, the band still rocked out as if people were crowd-surfing and hanging from the rafters. ★★★★☆