May 23, 2007

Indeed: how a resurrection really feels

“he likes the warm feeling but he’s tired of all the dehydration.

most nights were crystal clear but tonite
its like it’s stuck between stations”

The Hold Steady were all I had expected and more. We walked into the hot, loud club just as the opening notes of Stuck Between Stations was starting, and I felt a crackle of electricity run through my nerves to my fingertips. I came with really high expectations and Craig Finn pretty much singlehandedly fulfilled each one. To be completely honest, words like “salvation” and “rock and roll redemption” kept flitting across my mind as I watched this band pour every ounce of themselves into each song they created for us with raging ferocity and heartfelt passion.

I didn’t take any pictures or video because I was too involved to be bothered. But the picture that kept echoing in my mind was what I had written about Josh Ritter, another amazing performer:

“Ritter is also a rare, rare performer in his obvious ebullience to be performing. As he weaves his intricate, literate songs on stage, he overflows with each lyric as if he were birthing every line afresh for the first time. There is no sense of a rote performance, and no indication that he’s sung some of these hundreds of times. Instead, he radiates a palpable joy and a sense of barely-contained anticipation with each word that comes out.”

Finn made me think of these things, except — his exuberance in performing is multiplied by a factor of 4,354. It’s as if all the molecules of his being are spinning in a fury of musical joy, barely and not-even-completely contained by his skin from flying out into a million directions. Instead of a gradual dawning of the birth of a lyric, it’s an atomic bomb. He gestures, he spits, he jumps as he shouts out the lyrics. He dances these slightly uncool jigs without caring that folks just don’t do that anymore. The rest are all too hip. He doesn’t care. This is music, their music, their lifeblood pouring out for the joy of the moment.

we had some massive nights
every song was right
all that wine was tight

we had some massive highs
we had some crushing lows
we had some lusty little crushes
we had those all ages hardcore matinee shows.

Go, ye, and be saved.

5.23.07 Salt Lake City UT Urban Lounge
5.24.07 Boise ID Neurolux
5.26.07 George WA Gorge Amphitheatre Sasquatch Fest
5.28.07 Portland OR Crystal Ballroom
5.30.07 San Francisco CA Slim’s
5.31.07 Los Angeles CA El Rey Theatre
6.1.07 San Diego CA Cane’s Ballroom
6.2.07 Phoenix AZ Brick House
6.3.07 Las Vegas NV Beauty Bar (FREE SHOW)
6.4.07 Tucson AZ Plush
6.7.07 Houston TX Walter’s on Washington
6.8.07 Austin TX Emo’s
6.9.07 Denton TX Hailey’s
6.10.07 Norman OK Opolis
6.11.07 Little Rock AR Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack
6.12.07 Columbia MO Blue Note
6.14.07 Ashville NC Grey Eagle Music Hall
6.16.07 Manchester TN Bonnaroo Festival Grounds Bonnaroo Festival
6.23.07 GER Soutside Festival
6.24.07 GER Hurrican Festival
6.27.07 NOR Hove Festival
6.30.07 BEL Werchter Festival
7.2.07 London UK Shepherds Bush Empire
7.4.07 Portsmouth UK Wedgewood Rooms
7.5.07 Manchester UK Academy 2
8.4.07 Chicago IL Lollapalooza

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  • Hallelujah and praise Jesus, you have come into the fold that is the Hold Steady live. Damn, they are good.

    Madame Courtney Whiny Complainy Pants, Esq. — May 23, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

  • Amen!

    Now I REALLY wish they were heading back east again sometime soon.

    -tom — May 23, 2007 @ 3:38 pm

  • Excellent. I’m seeing them next week at Slim’s in SF. Wednesday can’t get here soon enough.

    Steve — May 23, 2007 @ 6:57 pm

  • Steve, that should be a great show. I love Slim’s, special place in my heart since Pearl Jam played a secret show there once. Kind of cavern-like but always fun.

    heather — May 23, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  • Heather,

    My buddy and I have already planned to hit the Ralph’s for a case of whatever’s cheap, then walking down the street to see them at the El Rey. We’ve decided that that these two thirtysomethings are gonna be “kids” again, maybe even asking some “adult” to buy the beer for us while we wait anxiously outside just for full effect. I can’t wait to get shnockered and rock out with the bics held high in the air. Thanks for getting me psyched up for this one!

    Anonymous — May 24, 2007 @ 2:34 am

  • This is one of my favorite bands and they put on two of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.

    By the way this is Matt (formerly of I’ve added you to my new blog ( See you around the Internets.

    Matt — May 31, 2007 @ 6:32 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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