The Hold Steady
If you have ever been to a Hold Steady show, well, then you will understand the title of my post.
I ventured out solo (once again) to check out The Hold Steady at the 930 Club last night. Since this is my 3rd time seeing them, I will be fairly brief.
I got there nice and early to get a good spot, as I did not want to recreate my last visit. The nice thing about Sunday shows is that they start fairly early, and The Hold Steady took the stage at promptly 9:30 PM, opening up with "Positive Jam" and then went into "Chips Ahoy" (if I recall properly). I still don't get tired of Craig Finn's goofy dances, singing without the mic, hand clapping, etc., however, it is starting to become a bit rehearsed and more of the same old-same old. Highlights for me included most of the "Separation Sunday" stuff, "Hornets! Hornets!", "Little Hoodrat Friend", and "Cattle and the Creeping Things". They also pulled out one from the vault, "Hostile, Mass." which got a fairly lukewarm reception from the crowd. It seems like the kids were far more enthusiastic for the newer tracks. "Sequestered in Memphis" and "Constructive Summer" received lots of fist pumping and singing-along.
All in all a good show, but it definitely lacked a little something. Donald Malice told me about a year ago that he was "done with the Hold Steady live" and that "they had given him all they could give", and "it was time to move on". I ahve to agree with those sentiments. They kind of looked like they were going through the motions and that maybe the constant touring was finally taking a toll. I mean, a mediocre Hold Steady show is usually far better than the majority of the shows we see, kinda like The Thermals situation a few weeks ago. But I think I am done. This was summed up best by the attitude of (normally upbeat and high energy) keyboardist Franz Nicolay. He was either tired, sick or sober, because he looked completely bored. I saw him belt out 3 huge yawns throughout the set and the only time I saw him really smile and look happy was at the end of "Killer Parties", because, well, his night was over.