Live Review: Tim Kasher & band; Simon Joyner, UUVVWWZ, Plains tonight; Filter Kings, Solid Goldberg, Soul Asylum Saturday; Delicate Steve, STRFKR Sunday…
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
That dim line that divides Tim Kasher’s music projects got a little dimmer last night when the ol’ boy played at O’Leaver’s in front of a packed house with yet another new backing band.
This time Kasher, who spent the night behind electric guitar and microphone (vs. last night’s sold-out acoustic gig at O’Leaver’s) was backed by Sara Bertuldo (Millions of Boys) on bass and backing vocals, drummer Dillon Ryan (who played with Cursive on their last tour) and keyboardist Patrick Newbery (Cursive). Or maybe I should say “multi-keyboardist” as Newbery was surrounded by a tiger cage of no less than four keyboards (Bertuldo provided a fifth keyboard for good measure). More than anyone, Newbery has become Kasher’s creative right-hand man and ever-present collaborator, not only on this music, but in Cursive, and why not? He adds a colorful layer to everything Kasher does, whether on keyboards or trumpet. The two looked like they shared a psychic bond when they played as a duo during last night’s set.
Playing in front of a lot of familiar faces Kasher took the opportunity to roll out a number of new songs, a few he said had only previously been played for an audience of house pets. New songs ranged from garage-flavored psych-pop to New Wave-y rock (powered by Newbery’s wonky, wonderful synths) to the usual slow sad stuff (“This next one’s new, and it’s a bummer.”) to a triumphant, set-ending anthem. The new stuff was fun and hooky, among the more poppy stuff I’ve heard him play (and most varied), right up there with the most-tuneful of Good Life material, and a sharp contrast to his debut solo stuff (which for me, was colored in shades of anxious blue, underscoring its theme). Despite that, there was no stretching toward an obvious pop moment, like on Help Wanted Nights. Some of that material resembled an artist searching for an infectious hook (“Heartbroke” comes to mind).
So here’s the thing: Kasher’s Monogamy material was as intimate and personal as you’d expect from a solo outing. The new solo material feels less so. Maybe I’d have a different opinion had I been there Wednesday night when he was solo acoustic. With the band, it sounded like a different incarnation of The Good Life. In fact, they even played a few Good Life songs to make matters more muddled. When Kasher played a Cursive song — a trippy, dissonant solo version of “Sierra” — there was no confusing it with the original. Kasher helped draw a distinction between bands when he called Good Life drummer Roger Lewis to the “stage” to play three or four Good Life songs with him. No doubt his new material would fit more comfortably within The Good Life canon than as Cursive songs, which are more abrasive, sardonic (and apocalyptic) in tone than anything else Kasher does.
Also like past Good Life sets, Kasher was in a chatty mood last night, filling the set with lots o’ funny moments (He barely talked between songs during the last Cursive tour). He said he’s off to the studio next week to record the new material, conceivably in Chicago this time, where he now lives, though we all know he’ll always call Omaha home.
Opening the show were some of his new Chicago pals, the band Brighton MA, which has a distinctively indie rock sound that recalls acts like Wheat, The Walkmen, Spoon, and at times, The Good Life. If you’re into any of that — or just good guitar-fueled indie rock — check out their new album Oh Lost on Fast Plastic Records.
* * *
OK, so what do we have going on tonight and the rest of this weekend? It’s going to be busy. Let’s hope the weather doesn’t muck it up.
Hot show for tonight is the Benefit for the Community Bike Shop at Slowdown Jr. Your $7 cover will go toward building a permenant outdoor repair stand outside the shop, which is located at 525 North 33rd Street. The bands performing: Simon Joyner and the Ghosts, M33n Str33t, No I’m the Pilot and UUVVWWZ. Is there a Joyner song you’ve always wanted to hear performed live? Tonight’s your chance, as Joyner will take requests ahead of time from anyone who contributes $20 or more through the shop’s Paypal link on their website. Details here. Show starts at 9.
Also tonight, Lincoln band Plains is headlining a show at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Small Houses and Howard. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Tomorrow night’s centerpiece show is at the Sweatshop Gallery, which is quickly earning a rep as a new destination for rock shows. The line-up: Filter Kings, Solid Goldberg and Pleasure Adapter. It’s also the closing reception for artist Joe Damon. $5, 21+ (not sure why since it’s a gallery but probably because they’ll be serving booze). More info here.
Also Saturday night, ’80s indie band Soul Asylum plays at The Waiting Room with local heroes Landing on the Moon. $20/$25 DOS, 9 p.m.
Sunday night, dance band STRFKR (you remember their cover of Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”) play at The Waiting Room with Blackbird Blackbird. $13/$15 DOS 9 p.m.
And finally, also Sunday night, Delicate Steve returns to Slowdown Jr. with Twinsmith and The Dad. $10/$12 DOS. 9 p.m.
* * *
Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.