I am thoroughly excited to be seeing The Hold Steady tomorrow (Tuesday) night at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, as everyone who sees their live show comes back fairly glowing. Last year’s Boys and Girls in America is a solid, lyrically dense, interesting rocker of an album, but I really started getting excited about buying a ticket for the Denver show when I saw the video of Craig Finn performing at Carnegie Hall for the Springsteen tribute:
Now that’s what rock and roll is supposed to both look and feel like.
I also read a very good snapshot interview with The Hold Steady in Paste Magazine on the airplane this afternoon. I recommend the whole article, but here’s a snippet that made me smile:
It’s awfully easy (and somewhat fun) to get tangled up in The Hold Steady’s Midwestern mythosâ€” the band’s aesthetic is straightforward (brews, devil horns, guitars, good times) but not simplistic (Finn’s lyrics are near-prophetic), and they’ve cultivated, however inadvertently, a certain working-class appeal (see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Hold Steady’s most obvious predecessor). They’re the band you go see when you feel like getting drunk on PBR, dancing and then loitering outside the venue, eating crappy pizza on the curb; they embody the half-tragic, half-ecstatic American adolescence every 33-year-old with a desk job wants desperately to re-live.
In some ways, their appeal is as much about escapismâ€”a return to teen-dom, to making out with a friend and hunting down parties in the woodsâ€”as anything else. I hold up a stack of press clippings and tell Finn I’m tempted to highlight every instance of the word “beer.” Finn grins, surveys the drained mugs littering our table, and raises his eyebrows. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he deadpans.
While I was reading the article somewhere over Arizona, I also listened to a handful of related b-sides and live tracks assembled by my friend Tom and scavenged in various locations.
Enjoy these, and come out to the show tomorrow:
Curves and Nerves (b-side) – The Hold Steady
Stuck Between Stations (acoustic) – The Hold Steady
I just love these lyrics
Against The Wind (Bob Seger cover) – The Hold Steady
FROM THE LIVE AT FINGERPRINTS EP
(links removed: you can still buy it here!)
And here’s an interesting collection: Craig Finn’s old band The Brokerdealer, which may be likened, at least on these tracks, to Finn’s own Postal Service project. All electronica and club-beats, but those same biting, poetic lyrics.
Give Me Back My Body – The Brokerdealer
If Not For Hipster Pictures – The Brokerdealer
The Last Ones Up Became Lovers – The Brokerdealer
THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL
And finally a soundtrack to the season: If you’re a baseball fan like I am, you should read this lovely piece from the Portland Mercury with Craig Finn ruminating on the connections between music & baseball, recording “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” for his beloved Twins, and how he saw Paul Westerberg at spring training.
Take Me Out To The Ballgame – The Hold Steady