The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady
Courtesy Vagrant Records

Some other bands may be tough. Some other bands might party to the point of puking. But The Hold Steady? They almost killed me.

It was after I had traveled 5+ hours to see the band, driving all the way from Nashville, TN to Athens, GA, somewhere between the song “Jokes Across Jamaica” and “Stuck Between Stations.” I was dancing my ass off with the “I’m not going to remember this night, because I’m so drunk” random fellow to my right. I was covered in a combination of sweat, spit, and several forms of alcohol. My legs grew weak, my head started to spin – even my girlfriend fainted from exhaustion.

Yeah. The Hold Steady are that good.

With a combination classic rock and modern indie influences, the Brooklyn-based quintet really knows how to knock you out. Their lyrically-dense tunes tell stories of heartbroken guys, trashy girls and the best moments of nights you can hardly remember.

On their 2004 debut album Almost Killed Me, the band explored simple guitar riffs and lyrics, which lead the album to become a sleeper hit amongst many critics. Their popularity grew with the release of their sophomore effort Separation Sunday – a concept album that told stories about the Catholic upbringing of a girl named Holly. Their current tour features their fourth studio album Stay Positive, in which the band delves back into sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Take the song “Chip Ahoy!” for instance. Under lead vocalist Craig Finn – whom many consider having one of the loudest and possibly most obnoxious voices in indie-rock today – the band combines whirling organs and catchy riffs to create a truly energizing sound. The song deals with horse gambling, getting high and nonstop partying. During a show in Chicago in 2007, Craig Finn simply stated the song is “about a guy, a girl… and a horse.”

My girlfriend and I exited the venue in Athens, GA after a killer couple of encores. From our tattered clothing, to our beer-stained bodies, to our basic physical exhaustion, The Hold Steady had truly almost killed us. And we had rarely felt so alive.

by Asst. Entertainment Editor Geoff Schorkopf


One response to “The Hold Steady

  1. I was waiting in a line for a show at the Earl talking to people about music and some guy said as he pointed to the show poster on the wall,” You got see this band. They are the best bar band you will ever see!”

    I didn’t make it to the show because it was on a Tuesday night after a 3 day weekend where I had basically seen a different rock show every night including the monday night before. However, I bought all there stuff and thought they were awesome. The first time I heard the song “Stuck between Stations” I was in shock of how good of a song it was! Love that song! They channel Westerberg with the Boss. Really, Really, Really, Really Great lyrics. Usually when that happens the band usually sucks live. Not this band. This band is AWESOME!!
    I finally got to see them last October at the 40 watt in Athens with Art Brut who is also an amazing live band. What is it about being from the UK or the state of Minnesota that allows one to be born with special Rock Powers?

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