I had just confirmed Clap Your Hands Say Yeah for March 30 when I saw Undertow was looking for a host for Tim Kasher in Madison on the 29th. I love working with Undertow, they put together these living room shows so that anyone can do it, so for me they seem like a night off. When I asked if I could do the Kasher show too, the Undertow guys were elated, “we thought it would be too much to ask!” I knew Kasher’s band Cursive, and had seen them a few times (notably headlining a Pabst Theater show), and I listened to his excellent new solo record Adult Film a ton, but I was certainly nowhere near the level of fandom of the rest of the crowd. Which was good, because they knew the right songs to ask for at the end of the set when Kasher invited the crowd to tell him “what they missed and where they screwed up.”
Two of those requests which stood out were “Album of the Year” and “Caveman,” both of which he claimed were among his favorite songs ever. Before playing the latter he claimed, “I’d go watch me play this song!” One of the most charmingly honest things I’ve heard someone say onstage. Honestly, Kasher was nothing but charming, embracing the idea of these intimate living room shows whole-heartedly. As opposed to most of the “living room” shows I’d done, Kasher got in touch in advance, checking in about load in times. That gave me the chance to invite them to dinner and volunteer my PA. He was accompanied on this tour by longtime bandmate Patrick who was a jack of all trades tonight. He spent much of his time behind the drum kit, where he also had a keyboard, trumpet, and melodica. That is until Kasher announced the “best/worst part of the show.” “I just bought this drum kit right before the tour, and heck if I’m not going to play it!” he announced before switching seats with Patrick.
“How much was it?” came the question immediately from the audience, Kasher looked taken aback, “well, that’s rude,” he laughed. He continued giving the guy a hard time before admitting it was $350. (I’ve been meaning to get a backline for the basement and that seemed like a pretty good deal.) His drumming was certainly competent, if maybe a little awkward, but he was having a great time. He evaluated his performance by saying that the kick was a little off, but “drumming great Thelonius Monk always said it takes years to master the kick.” Pretty sure he made that up. I didn’t know many of the songs other than those from the new album, but I’ve been inspired to go back and listen to a lot of his catalog, especially those released under The Good Life moniker. For someone who is as big a Conor Oberst fan as I am, it’s like discovering that Oberst has an older brother who is just as talented. Despite the fact that Kasher is from Omaha and has put out many records on Saddle Creek, also home to Oberst’s Bright Eyes, I never quite got around to mentioning how awesome it would be to have Oberst play the basement.
Maybe next time.