DC ROCK CLUB
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Contradictive Summer - THE HOLD STEADY@ 930 Club 8/14/08



I am supposed to be writing a review of the Jukebox the Ghost/These United States show at Ft Reno this past Monday. Honestly, there was no way I could possibly write any sort of review about the music, as I was busy chasing my kids around, chatting with friends, and enjoying the surprisingly cool DC evening. Let's just say that I really enjoy going to Ft. Reno, especially with the family. It is a good way the introduce the young ones to a little indie rock and a DC institution that I hope continues on for many years to come. Although I am not a huge JTG fan, I thought there style of music suited the outdoor venue and actually sounded pretty tight. We only got to hear about 3 songs from TUS before the kids got restless and we had to pack it in.

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....

32 comments:

Jimbromski said...

wow, what a dick

nice work with the attendance/review on the down low

hemisphire said...

I was at the JTG show, it was my first time seeing them but I definitely liked their sound and the crowd was into it. I left before TUS 'cause my wife was tired, though.

Jimbromski said...

I agree, JTG sounded pretty good. I know I've said they're pretty nerdy, and I still think so, but they had a good show on Mon. Pleasing to the ear.

TUS was good too but I left at the same time everyone else did.

The Fake Super Zoe said...

That guy was my boyfriend. He was saving that spot for me, but I stood him up. I was camping out for the new NKOTB album.

Jumbo Slice said...

I used to love The Hold Steady but after going to a few shows my enthusiasm has lessened. Seeing them play to a room full of meathead/frat guys will do that. Of course, if you're able to tune out the douchebags and focus on the band, it's a fun experience.

If I'm ever at a show, arm and arm with a bunch of guys, swaying to the music, shoot me on the spot. Thanks.

lauree said...

superfan or not, it's not an excuse to be an asshole...

I recently had to deal with two stupid girls at the Old 97's show. It's one thing to force your way up front on the floor and stand in front of others who were there for the openers, but it's another to do so and then proceed to talk LOUDLY and flip your hair into the faces of those around you while we're all trying to watch the show.

I'm all for letting people enjoy the show no matter when they arrive, but as you tried, share the space. And I wish they kept their private conversations about boyfriends, birth control and emotional baggage for the back of the room or at the diner after the show.

It was still a great show despite this!

John Foster said...

Sounds like it's time to get to work on the posters... Of course this is what you get for going to a Hold Steady show. I am hard pressed to think of a band I enjoy less.

sacklunch said...

The problem is I like The hold Steady (musically), thus the contradiction. Also, I don't really mind people dancing, getting excited, singing along, etc... But there is something about the average Hold Steady live show attendee that I find extremely annoying.

Steve said...

I had pretty much the same experience at the Hold Steady's show in November, and actually ended up leaving early because I couldn't stand the frat-boy contingent.

I luckily found a pretty mellow spot on the floor last night, and had a much better experience.

But, yeah, the whole frat-boy at indie shows phenomenon needs to end. They're everywhere now, from Wilco to Bon Iver to Margot and the freakin' Nuclear So and Sos.

I spent much of the period from 1997 to 2004-ish bemoaning the fact that so many great indie bands weren't able to get their music heard. Now that indie/alternative is popular again, I kinda want to go back in time.

Midwesterner in D.C. said...
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Midwesterner in D.C. said...

I was at the show last night too. It was my first time seeing The Hold Steady live.
I spent some time in Minneapolis so I remember seeing Lifter Puller playing around (mostly First Avenue) the scene. I had heard good things about The Hold Steady live shows so I figured I would check them out (thanks to a last-minute Craigslist score for face value). The crowd was definitely a bit of a meathead crowd (I was down on the floor on the edge of the jumpers/wannabe moshers) and I was amazed at the number of guy superfans.
Great stage presence by the front man Finn. My wife thought their sound was a little too similar between the songs (mostly the guitar sound). I like that sound so it worked for me. I would see them again.

Jimbromski said...

I've come around a little on this band, used to really dislike them, but the new stuff isn't bad.

Was Malitz the guy who advised Finn to put the guitar down? He's totally right, every picture I see he isn't playing it, he's doing his hand claps and gestures. Every so often, a strum.

Sad Croc is right, we need to initiate that Show Etiquette propaganda campaign that we ralked about earlier. People need to know what's expected of them when they're in public, since obviously their parents didn't teach them right.

Drew said...

Ugh, I know exactly who you're talking about. I was on the floor, but I definitely noticed that dude from down there. He was singing along to every word, which I guess is cool, but he was also making some weird rap metal type arm momvements and cocking his head while singing along to Your Little Hoodrat Friend. You could actually imagine this toolbag singing the lyrics in total seriousness. What an asshole.

Other than, the show was awesome. Craig Finn is like a manic Pee Wee Herman on a meth bender.

sacklunch said...

The rail thing really pisses me off. The dude kept saying to me, “oh, so you are going to be THAT guy…”, like I was some sort of spot-stealing dick. He left, I took his spot. That is what happens. If I was there before him and I left to take a leak or get a beer, I certainly wouldn’t expect that spot to be there when I got back. Tough shit. I don’t get this entitlement to a certain location at a general admission show. I even offered to move down, as there was plenty of room for both of us on the rail, but he would have nothing of it. Seriously, this guy had like 4 feet of the rail all to himself. This seems like it happens to me all the time. I love the 930 Club, but it is shit like this that keeps me from wanting to go back….

sacklunch said...

Yeah, I meant to give props to DM about the guitar thing. Finn did seem to put the guitar down more often than last time around. It seems to work a bit better that way, with the hand gestures and feet shuffling. He is pretty entertaining to watch.

Jumbo Slice said...

We should find out who that guy was and kill him. Seriously. for the good of society. Besides, Rock Club needs a good group project. We've come up with a bunch of good ways to kill Stutts. Why not use this guy as a dry run? I say we secure his head to a rock using his belt and then drop a bigger rock on his face. I think Jimbomski came up with that one.

Who's with me?

Jimbromski said...

I also came up with "tie him inside his sleeping bag, hang from a tree branch, and hit him with sticks", but that wouldn't work in this case unless we somehow convinced the guy to climb into a sleeping bag, of his own volition.

Note my cool new profile pic.

Jumbo Slice said...

Like the pic. I like our new tag line even better.

Rob said...

why don't you all just take classes at the toby keith school of justice?

Jimbromski said...

yeah, was wondering when someone would comment on the tag line

how badass would that be, if someone got lynched at the 9:30? rope around the next, chuck him off the upper deck, hanging from the railing. crowd goes nuts, band is spurred to higher heights of rockingness, like L7 in Serial Mom, when they helped kill that guy in Hammerjack's.

David said...

people really need to listen to me more, don't they?

sacklunch said...

Re:David

How come you didn't go last night? I figured you would be front and center, singing along, arms gesturing, etc, etc....

David said...

i was there, come on. i took my dad! our blogs are broken, otherwise you could see some good pictures and random thoughts. soon, hopefully.

maybe as the fratboy armies/annoying talkers continue to take over more people will start to agree with me on why it's perfectly ok -- and often best -- to stop liking a band once they become popular.

sacklunch said...

Re;David:
Whoops, I got my nights confused. I thought you were at DC9 last night.

I am intersted to hear/read your take on the HS show.

If I had known you were there I may have asked for you (and your dads) back-up in a brawl with the meathead dude...

Jimbromski said...

Malitz Sr. is probably the guy who was giving you grief, Sack

Super Zoe said...

I like The Hold Steady! Which, as has been documented here, is a sure sign that they have either become way too mainstream or no one listens to them. In this case, the former.

And I talk at shows. Oops! But everyone knows if you leave, you lose. It's like line-cutting. A total don't.

David said...

yeah i slacked on writing that vivian girls/crystal stilts review. well, that and my computer at work kept fucking up. but anyway, THS thing is up there now, that first picture is classic, isn't it?

i think this might have been my "set them free" concert, like i sorta said. ok, hold steady, you don't need me anymore, i'll be around and listening and i might still be at yr show since i can get in for free, but you belong to the world now.

Anonymous said...

good review of the show. love the hold steady and have been following them from their inception.
like some of my other favorites it's sad to see the frat boy sect invade the venue to sing every word of every new song. i'm sure they dont know song from their "early" work.

hardly any frat boys when the were at 9.30 in november.

sorry about the backwards hat douchebag. i was down the railing and noticed that guy and his need to lean over the rail and yell every word.

G.H. said...

I think it's common knowledge that you leave your spot at a sold out show, anyone's free to move into it. Likewise, if there's space between you and whoever is in front of you, others are likely (and free) to move in there.

I nearly got decapitated by two dudes with shaved heads that looked like bodyguards for the Corleone family (I'm serious) wearing tight black tshirts...at the Drive-By Truckers concert there last spring. There was lots of space in front of them, and I moved in to occupy it. Fortunately this was a man of few words, and just kept uttering "You better move. You better move. I was here first. You better move. I was here first".

sacklunch said...

Re: G.H
Did you see that the Drive By Truckers and The Hold Steady are doing a tour together this fall?
There isn't a DC date scheduled as of yet (though Nov 4, Election night is open on the tour. Meathead central at that show.

TRS said...
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Rob said...

shit, i thought the meathead ratio was high at the THS show at ottobar last year. mix that up with a ton of good ol' boys and you got yourself a douche-apalooza