The Cure’s Oahu show a gift to fans
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / email@example.com
Mention The Cure to someone who loved music in the ’80s, and you’re likely to get one of two responses: “I luv them!” or “I could care less.”
With Clones of the Queen:
Where: Blaisdell Arena
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Cost: $29.50-$250; only limited $29.50 tickets remain
Info: ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000
» For Kathy with a K’s custom YouTube Cure playlist, go to tinyurl.com/KathyWithaK-Cure
Between Robert Smith’s eyeliner and teased-up, gravity-defying hair and penchant for black, and the band’s blatantly, lyrically emotional music, the band doesn’t leave a lot of room for taking the middle ground.
The Cure was ahead of the pack in creating jittery postpunk and synthesizer-driven Goth/New Romantic sounds, but bandleader Smith tended to sidestep easy classification, staking out territory for smart, unsettling alternative music throughout the 1980’s and into the ’90s.
That’s why the band stands out so vividly in people’s minds, particularly as a marker for their experiences in the ’80s.
KSSK weeknight DJ Kathy Nakagawa, known as Kathy with a K, was introduced to The Cure in the later ’80s, when an older cousin made her a mixtape. It’s significant that she remembers how it happened; The Cure tends to have that effect on people.
When she went on to work with the musicians and superfans on the staff at influential Honolulu record store Jelly’s, employees could sample any cassette tape that came through the doors.
“‘Standing on a Beach’ (the 1986 singles collection) was in heavy rotation,” she said. The band was at a peak of popularity, and kids influenced by the music came through the door at Jelly’s with hair teased high and kohl-ringed eyes.
“The Cure stand alone because they continued to evolve,” she said, comparing the band to one like Pearl Jam that cannot be pinned exclusively to “grunge.” “They’re a genre unto themselves.”
Nakagawa moved on to sister business Radio Free Hawaii as a DJ, a profession she continues to practice.
Now, she said, The Cure brings memories “flooding back” for those who were in love with them then.
“As soon as I saw they were coming to Hawaii, I knew who I wanted to bring with me,” she said. “I was ready. … This one’s going to be special.”
DJ NOCTURNA grew up on Guam, where she first felt an attraction to the band. She had plenty to say about her love for The Cure; the only thing that quieted her was a moment of speechlessness when asked if she was going to Tuesday’s concert.
Her love of all things “dark” and Gothic extended from the ’80s through today; it’s the source of the name she’s known by, and by which she promotes a monthly “80s Pop Muzik” night (fb.com/80spopmuzik) in Chinatown.
The dark attraction is also a root of Nocturna’s latest project, “Miss Vamp Hawaii: The Reality Show,” premiering on KFVE at 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Nocturna is part of a group of Cure fans who queued up online to buy tickets the minute they went on sale, hoping for the front row. “I’m right in the front and center,” she said.
“I love The Cure,” she said. “Did you see my hairstyle a long time ago?”
The big, high hair she sported back in the day was a hybrid style, influenced by bands The Specimen and The Cure, held up by a blend of Knox Gelatin and Sebastian Shpritz Forte. “For some reason, my hair doesn’t stand up as well now,” she said.
Nocturna moved to Hawaii for college, but she was already hooked on The Cure by that time. She remembers listening to the band on the bus on her way to school in the ’80s, playing the same cassette tape over and over until she had it memorized.
After she came to Hawaii and started going to clubs, The Cure was on the soundtrack at underground havens like Sub Club, The Phaze, Limelight and “Pink Cadillac, of course.”
“There was an underground, dark scene,” she said. “I remember, in ’87 The Cult played at the Sheraton Ballroom, and everyone went to Sub Club afterward. For sure, we heard The Cure.
“I’m still a fan, but I prefer the older stuff,” she said. “‘Pornography.’ ‘Head on the Door.’ ‘Disintegration.’ … I remember going to Jelly’s and buying those things.”
The Cure, Nocturna said, is “really easy to appreciate. It’s the memory of what you did back then, too. It’s the lyrics, the love songs, I guess. Not that many bands have love songs. The memory of where it took me, back in the day.
“It was a lot of good times.”
MARTI KERTON, singer in the band Cho Cho (fb.com/chochohawaii), was in the band Hat Makes the Man during the ’80s. She’ll be at the show, as close to the stage as her bought-in-the-first-minutes tickets will allow.
Her many nights spent at The Wave, where Hat Makes the Man was a resident band and The Cure was likely to be heard over the sound system, have plenty to do with her love for the band.
In the ’80s, she said, “When I heard ‘Boys Don’t Cry,’ I thought, ‘This is where I want to be.’
“It was the deep, dark, profound sound. It was poetic, gritty. Hearing it was this ‘Oh, wow’ moment.”
The Cure, Kerton said, didn’t and doesn’t make “middle of the road” music. “It wasn’t your standard sugary kind of lyrics. It was thoughtful. It was clever … gritty, earthy, dark.”
When she hears The Cure, “it transports me back to that time, when we were young.
“A lot of us were going through emotional times, dealing with the fact that you’re coming out of your teens, that you’re an adult now, and coming into your own. … There’s hope, but there’s also room for despair, you know?
“I remember The Wave and the people I danced with to these songs, and the people I was with.
“It’s amazing how the music does that.”
THE CURE: A TIMELINE
1976: Singer Robert Smith founds a band called Easy Cure, along with schoolmates Michael Dempsey (bass), Lol Tolhurst (drums) and guitarist Porl Thompson.
1978: The band drops “Easy” from its name; Thompson departs.
1979: Debut album “Three Imaginary Boys” is released, along with influential singles “Boys Don’t Cry” (sample lyric: “I would tell you/ That I loved you/ If I thought that you would stay/ But I know that it’s no use/ That you’ve already gone away”) and jittery “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” Dempsey leaves the band; Simon Gallup (bass) and Matthieu Hartley (keyboards) join.
1980: A four-piece Cure releases “Seventeen Seconds,” along with the band’s first, foreboding hit single “A Forest.” The band takes on a first world tour. Hartley leaves the group.
1981: As a trio, the band records the mournful, atmospheric “Faith.” During a second world tour, they release the non-album single “Charlotte Sometimes.”
1982: The band’s “increasingly ugly fascination with despair and decay,” as their bio would have it, culminates in the driving, sonic album “Pornography.” Gallup leaves the band. Partially in reaction, Smith “goes pop,” and releases single “Let’s Go To Bed.”
1983: “The Walk” and “demented cartoon jazz” single “The Lovecats” are released.
1984: “The Top,” a “strange hallucinogenic mix,” is released, along with psychedelic single “The Caterpillar.” The band adds Andy Anderson (drums) and Phil Thornalley (bass); Thompson returns. Live concert album “Concert” is recorded. Anderson and Thornalley leave after touring, replaced by Boris Williams (drums) and the returning Gallup.
1985: The band records “The Head On The Door,” releasing hit single “Inbetween Days” and “Close To Me.”
1986: Singles collection “Standing On A Beach” is released. The band headlines the Glastonbury Festival for the first time. Tim Pope’s live concert film “The Cure In Orange” comes out.
1987: The Cure bring out “Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me,” a double album, and with Roger O’Donnell on keyboards put on the “Kissing Tour.”
1989: The brooding “Disintegration” is released. “Fascination Street,” a U.S.-only single, becomes the band’s first number-one song on Billboard’s newly-created Modern Rock Tracks chart. The “Prayer Tour” follows, minus Tolhurst, recorded live for the album “Entreat.”
1990: O’Donnell leaves the group, replaced by long-time band friend Perry Bamonte. The album “Mixed Up” is released, with re-mixed singles “Never Enough,” “Close To Me” and “A Forest.”
1991: The Cure wins a Brit Award for “Best British Group.”
1992: “Wish,” a guitar-driven album, is released, along with three hit singles. The “Wish Tour” follows.
1993: Live albums “Paris” and “Show” are released. Guitarist Thompson leaves again. The band contributes “Burn” to the film “The Crow” and covers “Purple Haze” for Jimi Hendrix tribute album “Stone Free.”
1994: Williams moves on.
1995: Jason Cooper comes in as drummer; O’Donnell rejoins once more.
1996: “Wild Mood Swings” is released and charts in the Top 10 worldwide. The Cure begin “The Swing Tour.”
1997: “Galore,” a singles and video compilation followup to “Standing On A Beach,” is released.
1998: The band contributes “More than This” for the “X Files” album, and Smith “appears” in “South Park.”
2000: “Bloodflowers” is released. The band sets off on a world-wide “Dreamtour,” playing to more than a million people.
2001: The Cure’s “Greatest Hits” album is released.
2002: The band headlines several European festivals; at the Tempodrom Berlin, The Cure performs all tracks from “Pornography,” “Disintegration” and “Bloodflowers,” basis of “The Trilogy” DVD.
2003: “The Trilogy” is released.
2004: “Join the Dots,” a four-CD box set of B-sides and rarities, is followed by new album “The Cure.”.
2005: Bamonte and O’Donnell leave the band; Thompson joins for a third time. The first four Cure albums are re-released, with Smith providing ‘rarities’ for extra CDs.
2008: The band’s 13th and most recent studio album, “4:13 Dream,” is released, along with singles “Freakshow,” “Sleep When I’m Dead” and “The Perfect Boy.”
2009: U.K. music magazine NME awards The Cure its Godlike Genius Award.
2011: At the Sydney Opera House, Smith, Gallup and Cooper perform the “Three Imaginary Boys” album, O’Donnell rejoins the band to play the “Seventeen Seconds” album, and Tolhurst stepps back onstage with The Cure for the first time in 23 years. Live double album “Bestival Live 2011″ is released.
2012: Guitarist Reeves Gabrels joined The Cure on tour.