it was loud and crowded and there was some pogoing, a bit of a mosh going, some crowd surfing and it had the feel of a celebration...that's a hold steady show, in particular last night's show at gamh.
you've got craig finn's manic and alternatingly goofy and serious stage presence, complete with some of the best front-man faces around. but you want to watch the whole band...each of them have their own vibe...tad kubler as the slightly spacey guitar-hero (and stage-diver/crowd-surfer), galen polivka and bobby drake holding down the rhythm with fierce energy, and franz nicolay looking all left bank but swigging wine out of a bottle and pogoing at his keyboard. and at the end the band brought a ton of people up on stage to close out "killer parties", including one guy who was given kubler's guitar and did a great job with the last few chords.
what you get is a group of guys who like each other, like what they do, play great songs and have a blast doing it. a celebration of rock and roll. it's hard not to leave in a great mood.
not surprisingly the crowd was mostly guys. i came to the band a few years ago as i was nearing the end of a long period of reading mostly authors like henry miller, jack kerouac...and the hold steady are (to me anyway) the musical equivalent...a visceral guy's band (and not just because they're so power-chord heavy). in fact, if you read their label's band page finn uses kerouac as a point of reference for the new album. that's not to say they aren't a band women can like, it's more that, like miller, kerouac and sometimes vonnegut, they seem to unabashedly revel in being men but they do it (at least via finn's lyrics) in such a poetic way that you almost don't notice.
here's a taste of them live doing "stuck between stations", praise be to youtube. and hell, here's "banging camp"...and here's "your little hoodrat friend". and why not, here's "most people are djs".
some pics (not taken by me) are here, here and here.