Seriously, why do I even bother with the camera?
If 2006 was a good year for The Hold Steady (and it was), 2007 is shaping up to be even better. A week after Craig Finn and company made their late-night TV debut on Letterman (youtube), and only a few days before embarking on a sold-out UK tour, The Hold Steady descended on Northsix for the most concert-like party I've ever been to.
It didn't hurt that The Hold Steady's first show ever had been on the very same stage 3 years prior. And Northsix's imminent demise (kinda) was certainly lost on no one in the (very full) house either, with numerous thanks from the band throughout the set to a venue that was "always good for a show," even if a band might not be able to draw a full house.
But it was more than all this that made last Thursday night one to remember. It was the palpable energy of a band at its finest, a deserving band finally getting its due. It was a bar band about to go big-time, playing a hometown show to warm up for the impending firestorm of hype that surely awaits across the Atlantic.
They seemed to play everything the crowd wanted to hear. Old stuff from Almost Killed Me (amazon) like opener "Positive Jam" and "Knuckles," and obviously all the new stuff (with the disappointing-but-I'll-get-over-it exception of "Chillout Tent"). And at the end of the second encore they pulled half the crowd onstage (even though the FAQ over at northsix.com strictly forbids such disregard for personal safety) for "Killer Parties."
There a lot of different reasons that I like going to concerts. Sometimes I go to try to discover great new bands (NYC-based Looker opened, now that I'm thinking of it), for example. The Hold Steady at Northsix was a band living up to the hype in a big, sweaty, happy-drunken way. I'll be talking about it for weeks.
BTW, here's a neat remix of "Killer Parties" that they've got posted over at theholdsteady.com:
The Hold Steady - Killer Parties (remix) (mp3, right click to download.)