The Appleseed Cast

Published on February 27th, 2022

The Appleseed Cast

For the last 20 years the term “emo” has been bandied about by flabbergasted parents to define truculent youths decked in the latest Hot Topic garb and eye shadow — proof that the word and the genre of the same name aren’t necessarily aligned. Once upon a time “emo” conjured up the likes of bands such as Hot Water Music — bearded dudes in cargo shorts with ankle and forearm tattoos — or The Get Up Kids — whom one could mistake as the cooler members of your high school math league.

Even those explanations are a little unjust. But like every other subset of counterculture, emo got devoured and shorthanded by Big Marketing. So in the early aughts it was goth-y pop punk kids in Jnco’s and black standing in for the whole.

And then there are bands like The Appleseed Cast that have been around since before the terminology had a face. Formed in 1996, they have consistently released riveting albums that feel aggressive and riddled with anguish while championing musicality and melody. At the helm is Christopher Crisci, the last original member of a revolving crew that formed in Southern California and made a home in the college-town scene of Lawrence, Kansas. Crisci today is still building on the emotionally wistful, sonically direct vibe of early tracks such as “Marigold & Patchwork” and “Forever Longing the Golden Sunsets” — whose tension between yearning and fury remains one of emo’s strongest and hardest-to-commodify traits.

The Appleseed Cast’s ongoing tour with headliner Thursday, plus Cursive and Nate Bergman (formerly the head of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s touring band), hit pandemic roadblocks in early winter: People got infected; dates were postponed. But everyone regrouped, and the proverbial show goes on. Perhaps one day Covid will be an afterthought for touring artists who saw their livelihoods almost vanish. In the meantime, music that represents a generational level of uncertainty about the world may be the perfect refuge.

Thursday with special guests Cursive, The Appleseed Cast and Nate Bergman play 6:30pm Saturday, March 5 at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale, $35, ~ Tim Moffatt