So, after 3+ weeks of beardy, folky music (Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver) I needed a dose of some good, old-fashioned rock-n-roll. So, on Thursday morning I easily scored a face value ticket for the sold out Hold Steady show at the 930 Club. I was not particularly enamored with The Hold Steady when we saw them back in November, however, there was something about their live performance that made want to give them another shot.
Unfortunately, my evening got off to a poor start. I arrived around 9 PM, just in time to catch the last few songs of openers The Loved Ones. I went up to my normal spot at the 930 Club (balcony, stage left) and stood on the risers (the railing was occupied) enjoying the grand finale of their set. During the set break, a spot opened up on the rail, so I naturally moved down for a prime position. About 5 minutes later, this meathead guy wearing a backwards Boston Red Sox (sorry, Potsy) hat and a Hatebreed t-shirt comes down and says, "Uh, you're in my spot, bro..". Now this has been a bone of contention of mine for many years. If you want that fucking spot on the rail, then you really need to stay put. The guy was by himself (so it wasn't like his friends were saving a spot for him). The thing is, I actually scooted down, as there was plenty of room for the both of us on the rail. Well, he wanted nothing of this and just kept jawing at me. I got called: a dick, asshole, cocksucker, etc...He claimed he had been in that spot for 4 hours (really, 4 hours, so the doors opened at 5 PM to let your steroid-ass in, to claim your 6 feet on the rail). I argued with the dude for a few minutes and then the girls next to him got involved so I was now being triple-teamed. Fucking text-messaging bimbos on the other side of me were saying,"..uh, like, uh, he was standing there before, uh, like, uh....." Now keep in mind this guy was like 8 inches taller than me and I was by myself. I eventually left, because I was either going to get tossed off the railing by this behemoth, or the arguing would have gone on forever, thus ruining my evening even more. So, to you Mr. Meathead, next time, stay at home, date rape a few Tri-Delts, have a circle jerk with your frat brothers, and then go fuck yourself.
Now this is a direct lead-in to my actual review of the show. There were plenty of backwards baseball caps in attendance last night, and the crowd was about 90% male. I like the Hold Steady, I just don't necessarily like the live Hold Steady atmosphere. I think they put one great show. Craig Finn's hand gestures, the aggressive guitar, and (yes, this is cliche) clever lyrics all add up to a big, ol rock and roll party.Finn is an awesome front man, with his talking-singing chopped delivery and the constant goofy dance moves, makes for a lively performance. Now I am no Hold Steady super fan, as I just recently purchased Separation Sunday (a great album, BTW), so I probably couldn't tell you every song they played. Highlights for be included "Slapped Actress", and the one-two punch of "Stay Positive" and "Stuck Between Stations" during the encore. Of course, they closed with "Killer Parties" as a large contingent of The Loved Ones came onstage for the supposed finale. (They came back out for the cheering fans for one more tune, even though the 930 Club house music had already started to play. It was the "true encore", which seems to be a rarity these days)
All in all, it was a great live performance and the band definitely enjoy what the do for a living. I guess my only issue is the whole "best bar band in the world" schtick. Maybe I am getting too old for this shit, but the whole hand-clapping, fist-bumping, psudo-moshing thing eventually gets on my nerves. During "Killer Parties" there was a group of brahs, all with arms-around-shoulders, swaying in unison. It was like something you would see during "Margaritaville" at a Buffet concert. I know I sound like some old fuddy-duddy, but this shit just bothers me.
So I guess this wasn't an official rock club show, since I was the only one that went. But I would give The Hold Steady a solid 7.2 for the show. I am not sure if I need to see them live again, there is only so much I can take.
Edited to add: Just for the record, the meathead guy was a superfan, singing along to every sound, clapping his hands, etc.. He probably deserved that spot more than I did anyway. Still a tool chest, though....