Kasher and his band took the stage right around midnight, opening with “Opening Night,” the best track from his spotty leftovers collection Bigamy EP. The quiet, acoustic intro proved to be an excellent gauge of what kind of crowd this was going to be, even if it proved that people in Lawrence just can’t shut the fuck up when someone is playing a quiet song. Luckily, the idle chatter was confined to the back of the bar, and though it carried up to the front a bit, the crush of bodies near the stage was the polite type.
Another highlight of the evening was a solo rendition of the Good Life track “Album of the Year,” which is probably the best song Tim Kasher has ever written. It's a thesis statement for a back catalog of love gone wrong as well as a surefire sing-along and crowd pleaser. More Good Life (or even Cursive) songs would have been most welcome, especially given that the crowd mostly lost their shit during the opening chords of “Album of the Year,” but this solo tour seemed like a necessary maneuver for Kasher. A way to cleanse the palate, keep the songwriting fresh and interesting for himself so he can keep putting out better breakup albums with his other bands. The peppier tunes of the evening—“I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here,” “Bad, Bad Dreams” and “Cold Love” — made jubilant work of their dour subject matter with the help of Patrick Newberry’s trumpeting and peppy keyboard work. The blend of hook-laden indie rock and downcast heart-on-sleeve folk that made Omaha famous (well, made Kasher chum Conor Oberst famous) kept things from getting stale. It was a show that found Kasher amiable and at home. The look of glee on his face when the band laid into a cover of Elvis Costello’s “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” said it all.
I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here
Bad, Bad Dreams
A Bluer Sea
A Grown Man
The Prodigal Husband
Album of the Year
(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea (Elvis Costello cover)