By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Photo courtesy brycebridges.comTHE GOOD LIFE: GOING FOR BOOB
Think of Tim Kasher's side project the Good Life as a civilized, restrained superego to Cursive's frantic and aggressive id. As Cursive's front man, Kasher spends quite a bit of time lashing out against ex-lovers; in the Good Life, he repents. On their first record, Novena on a Nocturn, he apologizes to his mother for the failure of his marriage. On their fourth, most recent—and most impressive—release, Album of the Year, Kasher laments Cursive's impact on a former lady friend. He sings—possibly to his former wife—with soft regret, "I was screaming those songs you heard two years ago on that night we last spoke." But while Kasher's temperament may fluctuate, these new Good Life tunes have staying power. They're the catchiest he's ever written, and his voice still echoes Robert Smith's as he tells the stories of love and loss on the flatlands of Nebraska. ("The Good Life" is his home state's motto.) The earlier records' sparse electronic instrumentation has been fleshed out into dramatic bursts, and Ryan Fox's sweet alto sax brings a cabaret vibe into the mix. Onstage, both sides of Kasher's personality boil to the surface, and nobody's gonna deny the mood swings make for a rip-roaring live show. At a recent appearance at New York's Knitting Factory, Kasher responded to some light heckling from the crowd with a scathing remark, turned to take a swig of whiskey, and then spun back around with his hands up in surrender. "Hey, I'm sorry," he said. "Let's make up. In fact, let's make out! Come on, I'm a nice guy. But I mean, I'm not a sweetheart or anything. If we're gonna make out, I'm going for boob." And the crowd went wild. (Kara Zuaro)
THE GOOD LIFE WITH NEVA DINOVA AND THE '89 CUBS AT THE GLASS HOUSE, 200 W. SECOND ST., POMONA, (909) 629-0377. WED., 7 P.M. $10-$12. ALL AGES.
CHEAP TRICK: BIG STAR PART IIHello there, ladies and gentlemen! Are you ready to read? So Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen may not have been the first rock & roll geek—that honor belongs to Buddy Holly—but he sure took to the role with gusto. With his cap atop the crown of his head, his bowties and sweaters, he looked the part, but the maniacal grin, the thousand-yard stare and the guitar-switching shtick made him seem as capable of biting the head off a chicken (the true geek calling) as playing a flashy solo. But he couldn't have been too crazy. While he wrote all the band's great power pop anthems—"He's a Whore" should have been the first big hit—he was smart enough to stick pretty boys Robin Zander and Tom Petersson on the front of the earlier records and make it so obvious—and make making it obvious so obvious—as to be endearing. Still, that shit was all window dressing, and if it hadn't been for some of those anthems catching on, Cheap Trick would have been Big Star Part II: America's great ignored power pop band. But the high-pitched squeals of Japanese girls on At Budokan have been heard by millions, and when someone born after Cheap Trick's first four great albums pumps their fist along to "Surrender," it rings true, not like some hipster irony trip like wearing a fucking Journey T-shirt. Puke. (Rex Reason)Cheap Trick AT Vault 350, 350 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (888) 80-VAULT; www.vault350.com. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $42.50. All ages.