Friday, June 01, 2007

The Hold Steady @ Slims, 30 May 2007

I like The Hold Steady. Their new CD, Boys and Girls in America is my favourite of the year (OK it came out in 2006 but I got it this year). This CD couples a beautiful modern rock production with Craig Finn’s intelligent storytelling lyrics (I am assuming the usually but not always true thing that the singer writes the words) . The band sounds like The E Street Band, but that’s not a bad thing. There’s loads of Catholic stuff in the lyrics too and that takes me back as well. I liked them enough that I bought their earlier CD, Separation Sunday and I like that too.

So why did I have such a miserable time seeing The Hold Steady at Slims?

I was tired and didn’t feel like staying up late. But I felt the same going to Patrick Wolf and came out full of joy.

The audience was boring. Yeah some people danced and sang the whoa-o-whoa parts. But there were a lot of people who didn’t seem to be getting into it. Like me.

There’s this thing I don’t want to say. It just doesn’t seem fair. As we’re doing Catholic stuff can I make some other confession instead? I saw New Order eleven times in the 1980s and they were mostly boring. People have a limited amount of control over the way they look. But, OK, I’m going to say it. The Hold Steady look square and Craig Finn is annoying. He expresses every lyric with his hands. He claps in a really irritating way. Every motion is done with pure glee. In the Letterman video above you can see some of this, it becomes more wearing as time goes on. I may be a computer programmer but I want my rock stars to look cool.

I liked the way the band shared a whisky bottle. I liked the way they teased the crowd about the Giant’s blown save the other night. I liked the way the shy guitarist hid at the edge of the stage but threw a few Guitar Hero moves. A drunk girl asked me to explain some of the lyrics to her, a new first for me. Someone asked me not to stand so near their girlfriend, another first.

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