Listen to The Hold Steady on Rhapsody...
Words By: Tim Dwenger
The Hold Steady :: 05.22.07 :: Ogden Theatre :: Denver, CO
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.
The Hold Steady from community.livejournal.com
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.
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.
Craig Finn by Kathryn
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 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:
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