Listen to The Hold Steady on Rhapsody...

Words By: Tim Dwenger

The Hold Steady :: 05.22.07 :: Ogden Theatre :: Denver, CO

The Hold Steady from
In the words of singer-guitarist Craig Finn, "I think it goes without saying to say," that anyone seeing The Hold Steady for the first time wishes they'd seen The Hold Steady years ago in much smaller venues. They are a bar band that sweats when they rock. The house sound system was blaring Boston's "Rock-n-Roll Band" as they entered the Ogden Theatre. While these guys are from Brooklyn (via Minneapolis), they are on the road trying to make ends meet and judging by their performance in Denver, I'm sure they're doing just fine.

As if to say, "If you came to hear this, here it is and you can go home now," Finn and company opened with "Stuck Between Stations," the hit single track off their dazzling third album, Boys and Girls in America (released 10/3/06 on Vagrant Records). Guitarist Tad Kubler's E Street strum was bolstered by the raucous rhythm section and Franz Nicolay's barroom piano. The party was in full swing by the time Finn got to the first line of the song and he didn't let it slow down all night.

There are nights when I think that Sal Paradise was right.
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together.

Craig Finn by Kathryn
In his unique voice, Finn sang about betting on the ponies, high school dances, acid trips and religion while introducing us to some of the most well developed characters in modern rock music. After a short time with The Hold Steady you feel like you know Charlemagne, the strung out addict, and Holly, the hoodrat who found religion. Finn has a way of telling a story that really worms its way into your soul. Lyrics like "If they ask about Charlemagne be polite and say something vague," or "Holly was a sexy mess. She looked strung out but experienced," usher you into the world of "Penetration Park," "Party Pit," "Ybor City" and "Hostile Massachusetts." It isn't a world that many of us would venture into on our own but hand-in-hand with The Hold Steady it's a hell of a ride.

Finn's between song banter was upbeat. Before they ripped into "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night" he asked how many people were from the Twin Cities. When the loyal contingent screamed and waved he thanked them for being the ones that moved to Denver and not Chicago. He introduced "Most People Are DJs" saying, "I don't know if you all have this problem in your town, but back in New York there are DJs everywhere. They are in the laundromats, the coffee shops, the bookstores and the clothing stores. I wrote this song about everyone who thinks they're a DJ."

The Hold Steady from
The band careened through 13 songs in 70 minutes before heading off. The crowd wouldn't let up and it wasn't long before Finn was back at the mic thanking us profusely for our enthusiasm. For the first time all night, the pace slowed as the acoustic guitars came out and Finn slid into his ode to booze, "Citrus." The opening line, "Hey citrus, hey liquor, I love it when you touch each other," spoke to the crowd, who held their drinks high in approval.

The evening ended with Finn leading his band through an extended version of "Killer Parties" that featured guitar acrobatics from Kubler while Finn himself lurched around the stage vaguely in time to the music. Are they the second coming of The E Street Band? No. There's no doubt they draw inspiration from Little Steven Van Zandt and the rest of Springsteen's crew, but they are The Hold Steady - a band that loves every minute on stage doing what they love.

If she says we partied then I'm pretty sure we partied
I really don't remember
I remember we departed from our bodies

Stuck Between Stations, Chips Ahoy!, The Swish, Hot Soft Light, Massive Nights, Party Pit, Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night, You Can Make Him Like You, Stevie Nix, Guys Go For Looks Girls Go For Status, Your Little Hoodrat Friend, Southtown Girls, How A Resurrection Really Feels
Encore: Citrus, First Night, Most People Are DJs, Killer Parties

Check out The Hold Steady's video for "Stuck Between Stations" here:

JamBase | Colorado
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 6/18/07]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!



All Loving Liberal White Guy Mon 6/18/2007 12:11PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

All Loving Liberal White Guy

she put 900 dollars
on the fifth horse
in the sixth race
i think his name was chips ahoy.

came in six lengths ahead
we spent the whole next week getting high
at first i thought that she hit
on some tip that she got from some other boy.

we were overjoyed.
i got a girl and she don't have to work
she can tell which horse is gonna finish in first
some nights the painkillers make
the pain even worse

best song ever "chips ahoy"

Jammer1086 starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/18/2007 06:36PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


These guys are awsome live can't wait to see them next

nuke_ticketbastard starstarstarstar Tue 6/19/2007 05:17AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

yeah they own my cd player right now , the new album is nothing short of magic!!!! saw them live after only hearing a couple songs on the rad-io and was simply blown away!! my new most favorite band of the summer for this year no doubt , cannot wait to see them again , can't say enough.....

foadser Tue 6/19/2007 05:57AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

1. Boys and Girls in America is my favorite album of 2006. Amazing Kerouac-inspired tune.

2. Excellent review, Tim. Thanks for putting this together for those of us who couldnt be there.

3. Did anyone catch them at Bonnaroo?

sbord426 starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/21/2007 08:22AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I saw them out at the Gorge about a month ago (Sasquatch). Easily the highlight of the weekend for me. Such a great band both in the studio and live.

aquariumdrunk starstarstarstar Thu 6/21/2007 11:15AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Re: Foadser...

Saw them at Bonnaroo (for the third time) and they just killed it. They had that tent by the heart strings and lurching all over in drunken approval. People walked out looking even more glazed over than when they walked in and going on about how incredible the show was. There aren't many bands I can forgive for playing similar sets everytime I see them, but they're one of them. It's always an experience.

I know they found some new fans down in Manchester.


Hagermeister starstarstarstar Tue 6/26/2007 08:00AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Just saw them at Glastonbury. It sounds like they pulled the same magic there they did at B-roo. They had the John Peel Stage completely packed out by the end of their set and the Brits were roaring and getting rowdy as hell. The Hold Steady slay both sides of the Atlantic!

mcarroll starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/28/2007 12:59PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I just started really getting into these guys, and I feel an addiction coming on. I missed the chance to see them at the Ogden here in Denver, and am kicking myself for it now. Oh, well. I'm sure they'll be back soon enough.