Friday, October 21, 2011

The Hold Steady live, Wonder Ballroom, Portland, October 20, 2011

What do we know about The Hold Steady? They drink a lot, and so do their fanatical fans. They write funny, clever, witty, literary lyrics. And they're really good live.

These axioms were proven once again at The Wonder Ballroom when The Hold Steady performed; their gig opening up for Death Cab for Cutie in Portland having been cancelled (reportedly due to low ticket sales at the basketball stadium), allowing The Wonder Ballroom show to happen. Sorry Death Cab, but no big loss. I'd much rather see The Hold Steady headline a full gig at a smaller place than open for someone else with a short set at a huge place.

The fanatical drunken followers were in full force, up front, singing each word to each song, dancing like mad men. Singer Craig Finn is, of course, the maddest dancer of them all. Strangely, he also sings every word to every song too. He's got the best smile in indie rock. He gives hope to dorks, dweebs, and geeks everywhere with his bespeckled anti-rock star rock star persona.

I caught them by accident at Coachella a few years ago at a tent in the afternoon. I didn't know much about them, but was quickly won over by Craig's infectious smile and the carefree glee and abandon with which he attacked each song. This was real rock n roll.

Saw them last year in San Francisco and met some of their fanatical obsessed fans for the first time. That's when I found out how special this band is.

This show at The Wonder Ballroom was only announced a few days ago, but I knew I had to go. The band was in fine form and so was the crowd. This band feeds off the crowd so obviously and so much more than other bands. Their fans love them and you know what? They love their fans too...

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