‘Craig Finn is a fucking poet!’…those were the words of the man standing next to me at last night’s Hold Steady show…and he ain’t wrong!
Craig Finn is indeed a poet, and on top of that, hands down one of the most watchable front men that can be seen live. He lives and breathes every word that comes out his mouth. Now, I’m sure many before me have tried to describe his energy during a show in words and failed miserably…so I won’t even try. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then ‘You Tube‘ it! On top of that, Finn has one of the tightest ‘blue collar indie rock’ bands on stage with him, driven by lead guitarist Tad Kubler.
On the night, The Hold Steady played a variety of numbers from all five previous albums, in particular some earlier work where the band seem to be having a lot of fun. (Killer Parties, Your Little Hoodrat Friend, Stevie Nix) However, it is in the anthemic tracks from albums Boys And Girls In America & Stay Positive where the crowd react strongest to the band (Chips Ahoy, Stay Positive, Southtown Girls, Massive Nights, You Can Make Him Like You).
It is during these songs that I realise how delighted I am for the band. My previous Hold Steady gigs have been at The Cathouse on Valentines Night (there were about 40 people there) and on the main stage at Connect (also about 40 people there). At both gigs, as great as they were, the tracks deserved an audience to scream the lyrics back at the band, so it was great to see them play to a packed out ABC ballroom. After all, in the words of Craig Finn at the close of the gig ‘We are all members of The Hold Steady!‘