Curl Up and Die played its last Las Vegas show nearly 15 years ago, yet the local mathcore band’s legend has only grown longer in that time. “When I moved back here last year, I thought no one would know I was in a band,” vocalist Mike Minnick says. “And my first week back some drunk dude saw me on the street and yelled ‘Curl Up and Die!’ in my face.”
Minnick will be doing the yelling August 30, when Curl Up and Die gets onstage at the Bunkhouse for its first hometown gig, and just its second show overall, since splitting up in late 2005. In June, the band’s current lineup—Minnick and founding guitarist Matt Fuchs, returning bassist Ryan Hartery and new drummer Keil Corcoran—played Anaheim, California’s Chain Reaction to kick off a reunion announced in April. (Former CUAD bassist Geoff Bergman will fill in for Hartery this weekend in Vegas.)
“It felt like we hadn’t taken all those years off,” Fuchs says of that first performance. “It felt like it took off right where it left off.”
From 2000 through 2005, Curl Up and Die toured across the U.S. and Europe while releasing two LPs and three EPs—loaded with intense cuts with memorable titles like “I Hate Almost Every Person I Come in Contact With,” “Utah: the Whoopie Cushion of America” and “I’m Trying to Fly to the Moon Using Two Magnets and Willpower.” Longtime fans should expect to hear a set of oldies on Friday, though Fuchs and Minnick promise the band’s comeback—which continues with a “surprise” all-ages show August 31 at Naked City Collective (2094 S. Highland Drive) and a December 14 show in Brooklyn—won’t be about looking back for long.
“We’re starting to sort out some new stuff, bits and pieces,” Fuchs says of Curl Up and Die’s next phase. Adds Minnick, “It’s early, so who knows, but from Matt’s riffs it sounds like a progression from our last record. And we want to introduce more electronic stuff.”
That last tidbit can be attributed partially to Corcoran, a former Vegas scene mainstay who played in bands like Flaspar and Vulcans (the latter with Fuchs) and now drums for synthy Portland indie band STRFKR. “He’s the master of electronics,” Fuchs says, “and he’s so into doing [CUAD]. He’s been a great addition.”
Curl Up and Die’s comeback feels so momentous within the Vegas hardcore community, Caravels, one of the scene anchors that picked up where CUAD left off, will reunite for one night only to join in the celebration. That band’s five longtime members—vocalist Michael Roeslein, guitarists Matt Frantom and Dillon Shines, bassist Cory Van Cleef and drummer George Foskaris—last played a show together in early 2015.
“Curl Up and Die was very influential when we were forming Caravels around 2005,” Shines says. “At that time we all had pretty diverse music tastes, and I practically couldn’t stand any music with screaming vocals. But when the guys showed me CUAD, it changed my perception of the whole genre. Their last LP, The One Above All, the End of All That Is, was one of the first hardcore records I heard that sounded focused.”
When Fuchs and Minnick started Curl Up and Die, they were high school kids. Now, Fuchs has children of his own—who are getting to watch him play live for the first time. “My 7- and 8-year-old daughters watched the Chain [Reaction] show and loved it,” Fuchs says. “My oldest thinks Mike is so cool. She said he jumps up and down like a bunny, and now she’s talking about wanting to sing in a band.”
CURL UP AND DIE with Caravels, World Tension, Entry. August 30, 9 p.m., $15. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764.