Nearly everyone at Sappyfest has taken note of the fact that the Bridge Street festival tent stage is a bit smaller this year. (The stage itself, not the tent.) Yet it hardly matters one bit when a band like Cousins takes the stage — and not just because their current line-up is only a two piece. For guitar/vocalist Aaron Mangle and drummer Leigh Dotey, minimalism is a sonic strength: their songs are lean, cut to the bone, all sharp hooks and biting edges.
They're also a band that keeps getting better, and the set's preference for the band's latest album, The Halls of Wickwire, was welcome. Songs like "Phone," a thundering "Body" and a catchy "Alone" propelled themselves forward, bringing the night's main line-up to a fitting close, sending the crowd-surfers and moshers off into the night seeking local Legion aftershows, karaoke sing-alongs and late-night gigs at the local edge-of-town shack.