The Hold Steady Monday March 19, 2007 WYEP Studios Pittsburgh, PA
Chips Ahoy!/You Can Make Him Like You/Cattle And The Creeping Things/Modesto Is Not That Sweet/Your Little Hoodrat Friend*
*-off the air
I was admittedly late on this Hold Steady bandwagon having only picked up Boys And Girls In America and Separation Sunday a few months ago. I quickly got into the band's vibe and was psyched that they announced a local date.
I wasn't planning on going to this radio broadcast since it was smack dab in the middle of the weekday during work hours. That morning I decided to blow off my responsibilities and signed up to attend. I barely made it as the guest list soon filled up to the maximum 80 or so people. Jeez, doesn't anyone work? The band stumbled in and put on a very subdued set. Key word being subdued. Tad was chill, Galen rubbed a clave, Franz was on squeezebox and Craig? Well, he was very calm (for him) delivering his highly articulate lyrics. I mentioned to him later that night how his words were out front in a setting like that and made me appreciate them more.
Below are a couple pics from WYEP's site:
Craig Finn hand-written setlist
The Hold Steady autographed Separation Sunday and Boys And Girls In America CD covers
Cool bunch of guys. I have to say that NOTHING prepared me for what I was about to see that night...
The Hold Steady Monday March 19, 2007 Rex Theater Pittsburgh, PA
w/ Marcellus Hall
Marcellus Hall autographed ticket stub
Stuck Between Stations/The Swish/Chips Ahoy!/You Can Make Him
Like You/Party Pit/Cattle And The Creeping Things/Massive Nights/Chillout Tent/Stevie
Nix/Some Kooks/Your Little Hoodrat Friend/Southtown Girls
Encore: Citrus/First Night/Knuckles>Killer Parties
A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO ALL HUGHSHOWS READERS: GO SEE THIS FUCKING BAND!!!!
This group is insanely good live. From the moment they took the stage to final notes of the encore these guys were downright possessed!
Opener Marcellus Hall and his back-up duo were pretty good. Just BARELY not making the cut to buy a CD though (hell, that's less money for beer dude!). Seriously, next time guys, I promise.
The Rex was pa-pa-PACKED tonight. A cunt hair away from a sell-out and since it was an all ages gig, the geniuses decide to scrim off the bar area in the back. My favorite venue in the city instantly became the worst room in Pittsburgh. What am I, cattle? Fuck that. I go hang by the lip of the stage and soon the place is crammed with drunk, tripping, sweaty college kids. I last about five tunes and need a breather. Fuck I'm getting old. As I stated before, the band was on fire and put on a hell of a show. The crowd was definitely into which made it all the more fun.
Watch 'Massive Nights':
Watch 'Chillout Tent':
Watch the Stage Invasion Finale:
These guys were genuinely nice, down to earth people. I hope they become wildly successful, they absolutely deserve it.
The Hold Steady autographed print
The Hold Steady autographed flyer
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Preview
Monday, March 19, 2007
By Scott Mervis
If Brooklyn buzz band The Hold Steady bears a resemblance to the E Street Band, then Franz Nicolay is the "Professor" Roy Bittan.
He's a colorful brick in the band's colossal wall of sound, an amalgam of punk and classic rock that engulfs the beat-poet lyrics of Craig Finn, a gawky frontman who doesn't sing so much as tunefully recite.
Nicolay joined the band, which was transplanted from Minneapolis, during the making of the second record, "Separation Sunday," a concept album about a "hoodrat" named Holly toiling with sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and her Catholic upbringing.
He got to work from the ground floor of the band's latest record, "Boys and Girls in America," following the further exploits of characters desperately on the make for love, fun and some kind of high. It was Rolling Stone's No. 8 album of the year and got a great ride on critics' lists across the country.
What drew him to this band, which makes its first Pittsburgh appearance in nearly three years tonight at the Rex?
"There were two things about it: One was what they already had and one was the potential that was there. Obviously the lyrics are great. And I liked the concept of sort-of comfort-food music. The lyrics are all kind of about making sense of people's lives in rock 'n' roll and the partying and all the great nights and terrible nights, and we're marrying it to this all-American music -- stuff that everybody knows, stuff that everybody grew up with, stuff that's a common language. Maybe the American folk music of the past 30 or 40 years is classic rock. I thought it was a great concept. I thought there was a lot of room to make the music more dramatic and more dynamic."
Playing behind a singer with such eccentric phrasing offers a good share of freedom, Nicolay says, "because one of the benefits of his style being so distinctive is that we can do whatever we want underneath it. He's adaptable."
Rarely does a Hold Steady review go by without some mention of Springsteen and the E Street Band, whose influence has also been felt lately on the Arcade Fire and the Killers. The concept for The Hold Steady originally arose when Finn and guitarist Tad Kubler were watching "The Last Waltz," but he understands the Boss comparisons.
"Yeah, obviously it's there. I don't think it's as massive an influence as people seem to think. I think it's convenient shorthand for 'rock 'n' roll band, wordy lyrics, with a piano.' But I think you could just as easily say that about the Attractions. I guess the subject matter -- that high school Americana -- is similar as well. It's a flattering comparison, but it's certainly not the day-to-day of what we're going for."
One thing that is part of the day-to-day for The Hold Steady are the type of vivid characters that populate their songs.
"I don't think we have to go that far out of our way to look for it," Nicolay says. "That material makes itself known anywhere there are rock shows and booze."
Even though the band's audience might be a bit more on the educated and indie side, he says, "they're coming to a Hold Steady show, by and large, to get wasted and have a good time."
In the same way the band stretches from classic rock to punk, the fans who turn out to see them fall somewhere in between.
"I think we draw people who don't identify themselves as any particular kind of genre of rock people," Nicolay says. "People who identify themselves as punk-rock people or classic-rock people or indie-rock people are kind of putting themselves in a hole for social reasons. It's not really about the music, it's about how you dress and who you hang out with and what shows you go to to meet what kind of girls or guys. I think the people that are attracted to us are people who have gone through all those phases but are now comfortable saying, 'I like punk rock and indie rock and hip-hop and classic rock, and I'm comfortable about myself where I don't have to base my identity on that.' "
They describe themselves as a bar band. They lived up to the moniker by hanging out after the show. Damn fun day. Hopefully it won't be another three years till they roll through town again.
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