Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gonna walk around and drink some more - The Hold Steady 10/1/06 - Irving Plaza

Everyone knows at least one. The kid in school who was generally good-natured, but drank and did drugs and never went to college because he lacked the desire, not the brains. He probably stuck around home when you went away to college that fall, working various jobs and moving in an out of his parents' basements for a few years before he found other kids just like him and moved into a shitty apartment in the city where he and his burnout friends did more random jobs, perhaps bartending, working at a gas station or cleaning toilets, just so they could make enough money to buy booze, drugs and guitars they used to play rock music with their other burnout friends and their burnout friends' friends.

Are they any less of people than you and I? No, they just prefer to live life for the moment instead of the future, opting for self-destruction because they don't want to grow up and turn out like their dead-beat and emotionally unavailable parents, who are the ones responsible for their kids' choice of lifestyle in the first place.

These kids practiced and got really good at their instruments and formed a band, and it was The Hold Steady.

Sunday's show at Irving Plaza in New York City was probably the most fun I've ever had at a rock concert. The band blew through most of the newly released Boys And Girls In America and many from their earlier albums with reckless passion. Craig Finn absolutely controls the crowd, even getting the "snivelling indie kids" to give in and show enthusiasm. It's childish and stupid (as is rock n' roll), but I for one feel like I'm hearing rock music for the very first time when I listen to this band. The band let everyone know where they were headed after the show, giving me the opportunity to show off how much of a fanboy I've become in the last few weeks since I first heard the new album. Craig was butthoused and seemed to be catching up with old friends, but was responsive enough to take some pictures and discuss Joe Mauer's batting title and the Minnesota Twins' pennant, which had motivated "the first costume change in Hold Steady history" when he came out for the encore in an old-school Twins jersey. Name me another frontman that can talk trash about Derek Jeter at the big New York gig and still win over every single person in the crowd.

Good press from Pitchfork and Rolling Stone (quick digression: wtf with the reference to "Chillout Tent" being the album's best track - you're telling me this Rob Sheffield character can have a job at Rolling Stone and I can't?) is just the beginning - this album is pretty close to perfect. Do yourself a favor and grab a six pack and listen to the entire new album streaming off the label's web site.

"Stuck Between Stations" live:


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