Friday, March 23, 2007

Yeah Damn Right You’ll Rise Again.

OK… so I’ve figured it out.

The Hold Steady + 22 oz. lagers + buds + Lancaster + Friday off = Perfect Buzz.

I know many drinks have been written and many words have been spilled around these parts in praise of The Hold Steady, but I saw ‘em for the fourth time in 8 months last night, and I’m here to tell you… they ain’t getting any worse.

Where to begin…standard opener “Stuck Between Stations” got hearts pounding, beers spraying and the floor heaving. Shit-eating grins abound… is this the greatest band in America? It might be… tonight there is no doubt. You’ve got Craig Finn’s idiosyncratic stage spasms (I especially like the mouthing of just sung lines) and lead beer spraying, Franz Nicolay’s way-up-there but just off-enough-to-be-right harmonies (not to mention best moustache in rock and roll), the always benevolent bassist Galen Polivka (last night he freely distributed beers and cigarettes to some of the more exuberant and younger fans), ace mechanic and rock steady drummer Bobby Drake (love the Drake!) and super secret ingredient Tad Kubler, whose arsenal of classic rock riffs (and I hear Brain May, Tom Scholz, Jimmy Page, Mick Ronson and Mick Ralphs all in there) never seem tired and come at you with blazing force… not to mention his little “My Sharona” quote (Finn pipes up “Don’t encourage him”) and the sweetest onstage rip-chord in recent memory.

Set rarities included non-album tracks “You Gotta Dance With Who You Came to the Dance With” and “Modesto Is Not That Sweet, “Sweet Payne” from Almost Killed Me and the recent, rarely played “Citrus”. Add these to usual set highlights like “Massive Nights”, “First Night” “Hoodrat Friend”, “Hornets! Hornets! and “Party Pit”, plus 22 oz. lagers (excuse me… but why doesn’t every bar serve these?), a great rock club in the middle of Pennsyltucky, the impending glow of sleeping in and a fistful of buddies that believe… and you’ve got the perfect buzz.

It’s almost as if band and audience can’t believe their good fortune. The all-out stage invasion during the latter moments of show closer “Killer Parties” solidifies The Hold Steady mantra – they are us, we are them. “We’re The Hold Steady”.

1 comment:

Surly D said...

Yo Trip,
These Hold Steady guys sound great. Why haven't you mentioned them before?
p.s. What's with this Jesse Malin guy? I hope to find out more.