Tim Kasher @ Schubas on November 20, 2010

Posted: November 23, 2010 in Show Review

I got to the show at about 10:00. I grabbed an IPA and got a good spot just in time to see the opener.

Darren Hanlon

Darren Hanlon started off the night. This Australian played upbeat, goofy folk music. He kind of reminded me of the Mountain Goats. At first the audience appeared as if they didn’t know how react to the music but eventually they got really into it. I’m not sure if I’d buy any of his albums but he put on an entertaining show.

Tim Kasher

Tim Kasher’s set kicked off at about 11:15. He started with “No Fireworks.” It’s ironic how emotional he appears while screaming “I can’t feel anything at all.” Next came “Just Don’t Get Caught” the B-side off of the Cold Love single. It was obvious that the crowd wasn’t as familiar with the song but they were content to bounce around nonetheless. Tim went back to his album for the third song “Surprise, Surprise.” Next up, Tim played one of my favorites from the new album, “There Must Be Something I’ve Lost.” Notably, unlike the first two times I saw him, I heard no laughter from the audience when he sang the second verse.

For his fifth song, Tim changed it up, playing “You’re No Fool” by the Good Life. It was the first of a handful of nominal covers. For the next song, he played “Prodigal Husband.” His vocals for this one were so soft that few dared to sing along for fear of drowning out Tim’s voice. For song number seven, Tim raised the energy a bit by playing “Cold Love.” “Cold Love” is definitely the catchiest song from the album and the crowd was really digging it. Tim followed that one up with a highly charged rendition “Empty Bed” by the Good Life.

He slowed it down for the ninth song of the set, “Strays.” Then came his cover of the playful David Bowie song “Soul Love.” After that, he ramped up the emotion for “A Grown Man” and followed it, as he does on the album, with “I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here.” I love that song and one of my highlights of the night was when he triumphantly broke into the line “I better write another chapter.”

What came next threw me for a complete surprise, “The Recluse.” As the band played the first notes of this Cursive song, the crowd let out a cheer. Once Tim started singing, the crowd started singing along too, louder than they had been all night. It was an unexpected and amazing moment. I never though I’d hear anything by Cursive that night. It was strangely nostalgic because even though Cursive still plays that song on occasion, I hadn’t heard it played with cello in nearly a decade. The cello makes that song and it was great to hear it live. It’s sad to say but Cursive simply can’t play it the same way Tim Kasher and his band were able to do on this night.

As if that wasn’t enough, Tim continued the Ugly Organ revival with “Driftwood: A Fairy Tale.” At this moment, I think we all realized that no more Cursive songs were coming so we better appreciate this one. The crowd showed its appreciation by a chorus of screams, “Now I wonder how I was made.” Tim harnessed that energy and directed it to the fifteenth and final song of the night, “Bad, Bad Dreams.” And with that the show was over. There were some calls for an encore but I think most of the crowd knew that Tim and the band had already given it their all (towards the end of set, Tim said that they were done but they kept playing more songs so I guess that could count as an “encore”).

Without a doubt, this was the best Tim Kasher performance I’ve seen. It was also more enjoyable than any Good Life or Cursive show in recent memory. I’m not really sure where it goes from here. I am guessing that Tim will put out another album under his name. He seems to really enjoy performing this way. I think the problem with having the other bands is it can create an identity crisis. Playing under his own name allows him stop worrying about whether something is “Cursive song” or a “Good Life song” and lets him just play the music he enjoys. I certainly enjoy the music he is putting out and I hope he keeps it up. Although, I might take a break for a while; 3 Kasher shows in 5 months is a little excessive.

Set List:

  1. “No Fireworks”
  2. “Just Don’t Get Caught”
  3. “Surprise, Surprise”
  4. “There Must Be Something I’ve Lost”
  5. “You’re No Fool” (Good Life cover)
  6. “Prodigal Husband”
  7. “Cold Love”
  8. “Empty Bed” (Good Life cover)
  9. “Strays”
  10. “Soul Love” (David Bowie cover)
  11. “A Grown Man”
  12. “I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here”
  13. ‘The Recluse” (Cursive cover)
  14. “Driftwood: A Fairy Tale” (Cursive cover)
  15. “Bad, Bad Dreams”

Other Notes:

  • I found it interesting that Tim did not play the title track of the album, “Monogamy.”
  • I don’t think Tim has had a haircut since before that show at Tonic Room.
  • Tim is opening for Minus the Bear on December 16, 2010 @ The Vic. I think I’m going to pass on that one.

Links:

  • Here’s a review of the show by Loud Loop Press.
  • You can check out my reviews of Tim’s other Chicago shows here and here.
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