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Hold Steady - Rock City, Nottingham, 9/12/2008

  by Sarah Mwangi

published: 24 / 11 / 2008

Hold Steady - Rock City, Nottingham, 9/12/2008


Sarah Mwangi is impressed by Springsteen-esque Hold Steady's energy and passion at rescheduled show at the Rock City in Nottingham

“I’ll tell my story,” Craig Finn sings in ‘Sequestered In Memphis’ and, staying true to his words, he let this story and many others unfold on the Rock City stage. Playing a rescheduled date due to guitarist Tad Kubler’s recent hospitalisation with pancreatitis, the five-piece were illuminated by the ‘Stay Positive’ album logo as they finally brought their E-Street band rock ‘n’ roll and sharp-edged lyrical themes to Nottingham. Craig Finn’s spoken-word style of singing certainly highlighted the lyricism at the centre of the Hold Steady’s songs. It also made for a highly personal performance. Finn wasn’t singing the same songs he sang on their last tour date gig. He was speaking directly to the people of Nottingham. He was emphasising and frenetically gesticulating with each word he spat out, speaking directly to his audience and looking more and more like an evangelical preacher were it not for the secular setting. His intensity alone would have given this gig an immediate entry into my list of the top ten of gigs this year, but what pushed it higher up the ranks was the other four guys up there with him. Kubler and co. ensure that their man wasn’t reciting poetry to a crowd full of yuppies but fronting a rock band with classic rock melodies, playing to those who were there to experience it before it became ‘classic’. The majority of the audience did in fact mirror the five middle-aged men holding the instruments, not only in appearance but also in their unyielding passion for the music being played. As Finn sang, they too sang, as though the recurring themes of searching for what’s lost, religion and addiction were their own. ‘Lord, I’m Discouraged’ momentarily calmed us all down with a crystal clear effect that beautifully framed the portraits of each instrument. The only problem was the rude invasion of an unwanted guest, ruining the glossy finish of the Kodak moment. Finding its way through Rock City’s walls was the assault-to-the-ears heavy metal from the venue’s other stage. Damn! It could have been so sweet, had Rock City shelled out more for better soundproofing.

Picture Gallery:-
Hold Steady - Rock City, Nottingham, 9/12/2008

Hold Steady - Rock City, Nottingham, 9/12/2008

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Interview (2007)
Hold Steady - Interview
Literary American garage rockers the Hold Steady have met with massive acclaim for their third album, 'Boys and Girls in America'. Chris O' Toole speaks to guitarist Tad Kubler about the band's increasing popularity and the inspiration for their work

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Boys and Girls in America (2007)
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