Jeremy Balderson With some time off from the Hold Steady and his creative…
- Posted on Oct 8th 2010 11:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
Annabel Staff, Redferns
Instead, fans got plenty of Finn's typically rousing, mega-positive stage patter, coupled with the group's road-honed brand of bar-band punk. Six years after releasing their first album, the Hold Steady is a big-room act with a rock-club mentality -- something Finn won't let anyone forget.
"Start moving around, drink some beer and ignore those seats," he told an audience composed of more than a few 30-something dudes and their dutiful girlfriends.
Such has always been the Hold Steady's core fan base, but the demographics are changing. As the group's albums become more accessible, and as Finn continues his transition from frothy-mouthed barker to proper singer, Hold Steady Nation grows ever bigger. Today, the Beacon; tomorrow, Madison Square Garden?
Whenever the group -- now a robust sextet -- makes the inevitable jump to the really big rooms, it won't need to change its sound. Finn and company started the show with five of their most unabashed arena-punk ragers: 'Constructive Summer,' 'Massive Nights,' 'Hurricane J,' 'Sequestered in Memphis' and 'The Swish.' The songs spanned the Hold Steady's career, showing both its musical progression -- love those piano flourishes and whoa-oh-oh sing-alongs -- and unwavering commitment to plain-old everyman rock.
With one shirtsleeve rolled up and the other uncooperatively covering the arm he occasionally uses to strum his guitar, Finn was all ticks, twitches and broad gestures. He loves the fact a balding guy with glasses and no vocal range can lead one of the best rock bands of the last decade, and the novelty is in no danger of wearing off. In his own way, guitarist Tad Kubler is every bit as geeky, and even when he's ripping a Slash-style solo, as he did Thursday during 'The Swish,' 'Rock Problems' and several other tunes, he never looks for a second like he could pull off leather pants or survive a bender at the Playboy Mansion.
Finn is fond of ending shows the way he did Thursday's, prefacing 'Killer Parties' with the declaration, "There is so much joy in what we do." Like so much of what the Hold Steady says and does, it would be corny if it weren't so true.