Hold Steady/Art Brut/1990s
Nov. 20, 2007
Okay, Thanksgiving isn't until tomorrow, but I wanted to use that famous quote from WKRP's Arthur Carlson and couldn't contain myself.
First up, 1990s. Rock Club saw this band at Rock and Roll Hotel in August, and, lo, it was good. Thus speaketh Rock Club. We even had the privilege of interviewing the band courtesy of Su the publicist at World's Fair and on this show Su set us up yet again with guest list tickets. I share this detail with you only to let you know how connected/hooked up/switched-on we are here.
Scotland may not be able to produce a single competent orthodontist but they certainly grow good pop bands. 1990s began playing to a half-empty club. Jumbo Slice and I made our way to the front quite easily and settled in to enjoy the show. Plenty of room for everyone, and yet a certain six-foot-plus lantern-jawed chick stood directly in front of me and blocked my view. Unbelievable. Accompanying her was a some supertwink guy with frosted hair who looked like a cross between Brian Austin Green from 90120 and Christiano Ronaldo. The band opened with "Cult Status", which contains the line "my cult status keeps me fucking your wife." It's a stupid line the detracts from an otherwise cool song. Anyway, Ronaldo shouted it out at the top of his lungs, and Femme Jay Leno laughed. That's comedy these days. I pointed out to Jumbo Slice that 1990s must be talking about his wife, not mine. All in all, a good show from 1990s. I'm looking forward to the next album--I think they'd be stronger if they just trusted their pop instincts and dropped some of the more ponderous numbers about clowns and puppetmasters.
Okay, next--Art Brut. This was Rock Club's second Art Brut show. Plus I attended a third show way back when before RC even started. I can now say that it is my fixed opinion that one Art Brut show is probably sufficient for the average bear, but at the same time I recommend that everyone in the whole wide world see the band at least once. Even people in Darfur should go, just to get a respite from the killing and whatnot. I think they'd dig it. (EDIT--What I meant to say here is, Darfur is a very serious situation which no one should ever ever joke about. Ever. I bought a "Not On Our Watch" sign and planted it in my yard. It's there right now, effectively addressing the situation.)
On to the act at the top of the marquee--The Hold Steady. I really hate these guys but was willing to give them a chance. I've changed my mind before. They certainly have a big sound--there was lots of guitar and yelling and people jumping about on stage. Good start, I like that. Indie bands, quit standing around like you're some fucking art school dickhead. I grew up with heavy metal and all those bands had giant stages, and everyone would always jog around. It looks cool. Plus you get fit at the same time. Listening to HS (do the true fans call them "The Steady"? I wonder. I hate it when people act all inside-y and abbreviate shit...hey man, put The Steady on!) I realized that Fake Accents Dave was correct about them. They don't sound so much like Bruce Springsteen as they do Thin Lizzy. During the glorious heyday of allofMP3.com I shelled out a hard-earned $1.38 for Jailbreak and was well-pleased that I did (regarding allofMP3.com, I still live my life according to the maxim that if Putin thinks it's legal, then it probably is. Last week I killed a Chechen on the Metro, just for kicks. Felt good, man.). "Jailbreak" is the best song on that album but "The Cowboy Song" is the track that to me sounds most like Craig Finn. Enjoy this video--it's a tribute to the late great Phil Lynott, who to the best of my knowledge spontaneously generated out of the peat to become Ireland's only black man ever. I'm not entirely sure about that but I'll check Wikipedia and get back to you.
Hold Steady's songs aren't bad and I think I was a bit unfair to label them as a threat to the American Way of Life. I just can't get past Finn's voice, however. The snarling, the yelling. Lynott had a cool voice, Finn has a phlegmy-cat-in-estrus voice. It made my head hurt and I left early. I get it, though. It's okay to like them, I won't say boo.
RC Ratings: 1990s--6.2; Art Brut--6.5; Hold Steady--5.9