Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Hold Steady concert review

Last Saturday night I took a trip down Highland to the Spanish Moon to check out Brooklyn/Minnesota indie-rock outfit The Hold Steady. The openers were The Plastic Constellations and Swearing At Motorists. Tickets were $10, a nice price for what could be an amazing show.

The venue was surprisingly empty considering that the only other concert I had seen there Of Montreal was completely packed from wall-to-wall. The patrons were mostly the indie-hipster crowd which meant that once again I was the odd-man-out since I was sporting Widespread hat/Polo sweater/Levi's 501s/Sperry Topsiders.

The first opener The Plastic Constellations wasn't that good, they seemed too much like a bubblegum- almost emo band. I didn't really get into them very much. The second band Swearing at Motorists was interesting since they were a guitar-and-drums band a la The White Stripes. They were pretty entertaining but their jams could probably use a little work. The repetitive lyrics turned me off also.

But since I had never heard of either of them I wasn't there to see those bands. I was there to hear The Hold Steady. I had acquired their album Almost Killed Me about a week before their show but didn't have enough time to enjoy it to know their stuff that well. The fact that I did not know most of the songs they played definitely made the show a little less enjoyable. But then again its always exciting to experience a band for the very first time at one of their shows.

Anyway most of the stuff was pretty edgy fast-paced rock n' roll. The lyrical style of Craig Finn is reminiscent of Bob Dylan in that it is a rambling narrative style. Most of his songs tell some sort of story, many of which deal with his experiences from the 80's and all the partying he did. His songs are also very witty with random allusions to people like Robbie Robertson and Rick Danko that are sometimes hard to pick up when you are enjoying the music. The only downfall of this lyrical style is the lack of a chorus, which means you can't yell along while rocking out unless if you sacrifice hours to memorize the songs.

The only real disappointment from the show was the fact that they didn't play an encore. The venue was relatively empty so I could understand if the band wasn't happy about that, but I still would have liked to have seen them throw a cover or two in there and play an encore. With that being said everything sounded good including their brand new stuff.

The two most important questions regarding a show review:
Was the show worth the price of admission ($10)? Absolutely
Would I recomend the band to others to check out? Definitely, go see them if you can!


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