Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

Your Little Hoodrat Friend

Forget what I said a little while back about what I was looking for in a new band – I now wanna be in The Hold Steady instead. On Monday night the Brooklyn combo steamrolled into town and absolutely destroyed a surprisingly packed Lee’s Palace with a torrent of beer, sweat and pure rock.

Openers were Horsey Craze, the Neil Young cover band alter-ego of some of The Constantines, former tourmates of The Hold Steady. At points sloppy enough to make the real Crazy Horse look tight, there was no denying that the band was just there to have some fun – they even apologized a few times for their ramshackleness. But no one really minded and in a way, they were living the Canadian dream – Lord knows I’d love the opportunity to get up and jam on “Like A Hurricane” for an hour or two.

Sounding like Robert Pollard fronting the E Street Band, The Hold Steady may well have been having a better time onstage than the audience was below, and the audience was having a hell of a time. Rowdy, raucous and often hilarious, over the set and two encores, they tore through material from The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me and Separation Sunday as well as previewing new material from Boys And Girls In America, out October 3. The new stuff sounds a lot like the old stuff – classic blue-collar guitar rock overflowing with wry observations and recriminations of down-and-outs and low-lifes, courtesy of Craig Finn.

A transplanted Minnesotan, Finn looks more like a beer league bowling champ or subsitute teacher than a frontman for a rock band. Despite that – or maybe because of it – he’s a manic, magnetic figure at the mic. Flailing, gesticulating, clapping, riffing (both on guitar and verbally) and otherwise just being a hell of a performer, the man could put on a clinic on how to front a rock band. I’ve actually always wondered about bands that put on these, “leave it all on stage” shows – how they do it every night, how they keep it fresh and honest. My theory is that they are completely drained by the end of each show – perhaps from all the sweat – but then recharge with beer. And then it’s on to the next show. Whatever the secret is, The Hold Steady have got it down pat.

Gig photos here. Bands as animated as The Hold Steady are fun to shoot, that’s fer damn sure. Also check out some AV, including a Separation Sunday b-side available to download from their MySpace and two versions of their video for “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” – one that apparently their management didn’t like and one they did. I prefer the rejected one. Pretty girls > dancing hipsters.

MP3: The Hold Steady – “Your Little Hoodrat Friend”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Curves Nerves”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “The Swish”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” (YouTube)
Video: The Hold Steady – “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” (rejected by management) (YouTube)
MySpace: The Hold Steady

This MySpace blog has got five live Eric Bachmann tracks recorded last Winter. All of them appear on his new album To The Races and sound a lot like the recorded versions – which makes sense since they were largely recorded live and solo. They sound great – the live stuff and album both. He’s playing the Horseshoe September 16.

Just two days too late to make my themed post, Australia’s Grates talk to Chart about songwriting and K-Mart.

Yo La Tengo will be in town to beat our asses at the Phoenix on October 2. Yay! And if you haven’t heard the second MP3 from I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, out September 12, well here you go.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind”

File under: rip-offs a-coming: Billboard reports that Universal has acquired the rights to the Elvis Costello catalog and is planning to reissue them with. In case you ran out of fingers, this will be the fourth edition of Costello’s early catalog and the third definitive one. I can’t imagine that there’s much left in the vaults to make this of any value even to die-hard completists, so unless someone out there’s been holding out on getting My Ain Is True for the past 30 years hoping that a better version will come out, then I hope to god there’s no audience for these. Enough already.

The Village Voice bonds with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats over The Geto Boys and comic books. Darnielle is a Deadman fan. Who’d have guessed? Get Lonely! is out August 22 and they’re at Lee’s Palace on September 19.

And the comics section – PopMatters reviews the epic of Scott Pilgrim thus far (and to Largehearted Boy, who believes my life in Toronto mirrors Scott Pilgrim’s, I have to say alas – I never seem to get the power-ups). And the AV Club interviews the legendary Alan Moore about his controversial (it’s sexy) new graphic novel Lost Girls and shuffles up Brian K Vaughan’s iPod. Vaughan swears his musical taste isn’t that lame.

And now I’m off to Lollapalooza. Dispatches from Chicago to come.

np – Shearwater / Everybody Makes Mistakes

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: Uncategorized
RSS Feed for this post11 Responses.
  1. Tony says:

    Do yourself a favor and see MuteMath at Lolla. One of the best live shows I have ever seen. You thought the hold steady had energy…check these guys out. I’ll be up front.

  2. Sarah says:

    I totally agree about wanting to be in The Hold Steady. I was at the Montreal show on Sunday, which was surprisingly unpacked, and they kicked my ass but good. They are so much fun.

  3. Mike says:

    I never got around to listening to The Hold Steady after overhearing a conversation at Soundscapes(in Toronto) last summer which, if I recall correctly, described the band’s music as average indie rock. Maybe I’ll have to give ’em another chance.

    Also, good news about Yo La Tengo coming to Toronto, and at the Phoenix no less!

    Have a good time at Lollapalooza!

  4. he who clicks says:

    Awesome Hold Steady pics, Frank.

  5. Alizee says:

    According to Mojave 3’s booking agent, the show is at the Mod.

  6. max says:

    now i’m pumped for their show here, thanks for the review, i’ve never been able to catch them and have seen few reviews of their shows…i’m physced

  7. Quinn says:

    awesome pics.

    "I never got around to listening to The Hold Steady after overhearing a conversation at Soundscapes(in Toronto) last summer which, if I recall correctly, described the band’s music as average indie rock. Maybe I’ll have to give ’em another chance."

    if you aren’t really paying attention they initially sound sort of average… Craig Finn’s lyricism is awesome though.

  8. matzohball77 says:

    "I never got around to listening to The Hold Steady after overhearing a conversation at Soundscapes(in Toronto) last summer which, if I recall correctly, described the band’s music as average indie rock. Maybe I’ll have to give ’em another chance."

    Soundscapes. Good record store, but the only worse place to overhear a conversation is in line at the Toronto Film Festival. Unless you really like Broken Social Scene it’s best to keep your ipod on (loud) while shopping there.

    Great pictures Frank. You have a great blog. Thanks.

  9. courtney says:

    I love the Hold Steady. And your Pollard fronting the E Street Band analogy is fantastic; although I’ve described them as the band Bruce Springsteen would have started if he grew up on the Clash and the Ramones, rather than the Rolling Stones.

  10. thomaus says:

    I saw the Hold Steady open for the Constanstines in November last year. I was positioned at the edge of the stage in front of the handlebar-mustached keyboard guy. He scared me.

  11. chris says:

    What am I missing about the Hold Steady? Lyrics are good, sure (though anyone who whines about being raised Catholic is a big weenie in my book). But man, o man is the music generic. Saw them at Webster Hall and had to walk out after three songs. I just don’t get them.