Curiosa Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto ON - August 9, 2004

Stepping up to fill the summer concert void left by Lollapalooza's cancellation, Curiosa had some extra pressure on its shoulders to deliver the goods. Featuring the Cure and an impressive roster of bands that were obviously drying their eyes to Disintegration in their teenage years, the travelling festival definitely had consistency on its side. Mogwai opened the main stage with what may go down as both the quietest and loudest performance ever played at the huge venue. Choosing a set list filled with their most celebrated songs, the Scots teased the audience with the quiet/loud dynamics of "Hunted By A Freak," "Mogwai Fear Satan" and "Helicon 1," which featured four guitarists. The Rapture made a valiant effort to get people up and moving with their moody disco punk; Luke Jenner showed off his Robert Smith-isms with "Olio," which recalled Smith's unique wail but it was the more rocking tracks like "Out Of The Races And Onto The Tracks" and "Heaven" that got the spectators into the set. Interpol received the most enthusiastic response of all the early bands. Dressed to the nines in black, navy blue, yellow and red, they kicked off things with the pristine "Obstacle 1" before rolling through more cuts from their celebrated debut. Fans were even treated to new ones, such as "Slow Hands" and "Evil," from their forthcoming album Antics. When the Cure came on the stage though, it was as if they were the only band performing that day. Opening with "Lost," from their new self-titled record, they were greeted with undying applause from their fans. When "Plainsong" followed, it began a chain of songs that switched between Disintegration and the new album. As thrilling as that seems, there were many problems with how the music sounded out in the seats of the huge theatre. "Pictures Of You" suffered from a tinny, weak lead guitar, while a muffled "In Between Days" was ruined by Roger O'Donnell's cheesy synths. Things seemed to go in the wrong direction until they played "Pornography," their heaviest track, which marked a turn towards their older work. The encore proved to be exciting in theory but a failure in execution. "Play For Today" was saturated with O'Donnell's overpowering synths and "A Forest" was a complete mess, only recognisable for its distinct bass line and the trees shown on the giant screen. Unfortunately, the day was not saved by the Cure, but by their stellar choice in support bands. Can you see the irony?