Skip to main content

The Hold Steady, Manchester Academy 2, 19th October 2014

The first thing that strikes you about Craig Finn, the lead singer with The Hold Steady, is that this guy doesn't look like he's in a rock band. Indeed, short, bespectacled, and with a thinning thatch, he looks bookish, maybe an accountant, or an IT guru. A more than passing resemblance to Woody Allen and football manager Martin O'Neill, you might think.

Indeed, the bookishness extends to the lyrics of the elaborate stories contained within the songs. What other band would have the crowd singing along to a chorus of "Sub peoned in Texas, sequestered in Memphis"?

But don't let this fool you. The Hold Steady can rock with the best, as last night's gig at Manchester Academy 2 demonstrated.

I first came across the band back in the mid-noughties, Shaun, a guy I knew from Stalybridge Buffet Bar, sadly no longer with us, rated them. The title track from their 2008 album 'Stay Positive' then became something of a mantra as I had a bad time that year.

Finn himself struts around the stage, fingers pointing, an in-your-face-sort-of-guy. Two guitars, a bass and drums do the rest. A hard driving sound, the music just envelops you.

Anybody to compare? If you like Springsteen, you might like the Hold Steady. The stories mixed with the music mean they have a similar approach. But whilst Springsteen is an East Coast blue-collar boy, with the stories to reflect, the Hold Steady are from middle America, originating from Minneapolis although now based in Brooklyn. 

You might also have heard their music if you are partial to 'Game of Thrones' - never seen it myself - but they recorded a track for the soundtrack called 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair'. Six albums on, they continue to get better.

Last night's gig at the Academy was excellent, whilst they could have played longer than an hour and 20, we got some great music....


Hold Steady, Craig's quite subdued

Craig Finn, in typical pose

The latest album, out now, is 'Teeth Dreams', from it this is 'Spinners'....




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Town That Thinks It's A Village....

My time has been a bit limited recently for venturing too far afield, so last weekend I made the short journey to Elland to check out a few of the town's pubs and bars. Here's what I found.... Elland is a small market town in West Yorkshire, located between Halifax and Huddersfield beside the River Calder. It goes back a bit, being recorded as Elant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and over the centuries the town grew as a result of the woollen industry, with the town becoming home to several large mills. The coming of the Aire and Calder Navigation and the railways further helped the growth of the town. The subsequent decline of the woollen industry in the town meant that there were a number of empty mills left standing, and those that didn't burn down were put to other use, such as the home of Gannex, the now-defunct textile company whose raincoats were worn by the rich and famous, including former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. More recently, several mills have been converte

First Trip to The County....

The County in Huddersfield has just been taken over by the Beerhouses Group, whose other pubs include the West Riding Refreshment Rooms in Dewsbury, the Buffet Bar in Stalybridge, and the Sportsman, also in Huddersfield. So one evening last week I went over to check it out and look in on a number of other places in the town.... The County is situated in a quiet area of Huddersfield, just off the precinct below Wilkinsons and opposite one side of the town hall. It is one of those places that has never been on the real ale circuit and has just quietly seemed to have got on with its own business over the years. I had certainly never been in it before and so I had absolutely no pre-conceptions of what to expect when I visited. The County is blessed with a narrow frontage at the end of a solid row of buildings on a slightly sloping street. The Beerhouses livery is on the signage, with freshly-painted white steps, and an old John Smiths lamp by the door and the Magnet design etched in the wi

New Team Breathing Fire Into Elland Brewery....

I paid a visit to Elland Brewery recently to meet the new team there who are aiming to build on the brewery's heritage and develop the business. Based in the West Yorkshire town of the same name, here's what I found..... There is a buzz about Elland Brewery these days. That was evident when I called in to see the team recently to find out some of their ideas for moving the brewery forward over the coming months and beyond. The brewery, much loved both in the local area and beyond, had been the subject of speculation over recent months as added to the fact that the erstwhile owners had gone their separate ways, other members of the team had left, consequently setting off rumours about the business's future.  The roots of Elland Brewery can be traced back to the Barge and Barrel pub, across town by the side of the canal. In the 1990's a brewery had been set up by the avuncular John Eastwood in the former children's playroom, where he developed beers such as Nettle Thr