Cursive’s Tim Kasher brings new solo material to Chicago dive bar

Tim Kasher at The Tonic Room, Chicago, IL

From July 27, 2010
Review by: Derek Walker

Tim Kasher is a strange sort. After much success with Cursive, the band that made many a high schooler’s awkward phase just a little bit easier, he swapped bandmates and started The Good Life. The reviews were mixed. Some enjoyed the more somber, heartfelt lyricism of the new band, while others wished for more classics from Cursive. Both sides had their merits, and Kasher never really conceded one way or the other; he still releases albums under both monikers – good ones, at that. And now it seems he’s trying to outdo himself again with a third project, this one under his own name.

Kasher brought some new material to The Tonic Room in Chicago Tuesday, and the lot of it was fairly impressive. The venue itself was rather narrow, holding about 100 people on the best of nights. I have to admit it was awkward seeing the guy so close and candid. Having seen Cursive at festivals and medium-sized venues, one gets the illusion that Kasher is untouchable, a god of the stage who is just out of reach. To see him at a bar on the city’s north side, nervously strumming through poignant, delicately worded songs he attributes to nobody but himself was something special. He was backed by a three-piece band which included Geoff Dolce on bass and violin, Erin Tate (Minus the Bear) on drums and Patrick Newbery (Cursive, Head of Femur) on keys and horn.

The set list contained a good portion of Kasher’s upcoming solo album titled “The Game of Monogamy,” a cover of Tom Waits’s “I Want You” and a tremendous rendition of The Good Life’s “Night and Day.” Songs like “Monogamy” and “Uh-huh,” meanwhile, were true gems that allowed Kasher to belt out some of those “Ugly Organ”-era screams. On the whole, he looked a lot more comfortable than he did several months ago at a house show, also in Chicago. There, he forgot words and had to start a few songs over – which he alluded to and joked about during the most recent set.

It was a treat seeing such a high-profile musician in such an intimate setting. Even if the goal of this set was to work out the kinks of the new songs and test them out in front of an audience, nobody left disappointed.

“The Game of Monogamy” will be released October 5 on Saddle Creek Records.

Set list:
1. Bad, Bad Dreams
2. I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here
3. There Must Be Something I’ve Lost
4. No Fireworks
5. Strays
6. I Want You (Tom Waits cover)
7. A Grown Man
8. Just Don’t Get Caught
9. Night and Day
10. Monogamy
11. The Prodigal Husband
12. Cold Love
13. Uh-huh


(Courtesy: Tim McPherrin)

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