Live Review: The Hold Steady at Revolution Music Room, September 23

By Lizzie Burnham

In June of 2007, The Hold Steady made their way to Sticky Fingerz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack.  A little over three years later, they graced the stage of Revolution Music Room.  Even though there have been some line-up changes, most notably with their keyboardist extraordinaire Franz Nicolay leaving the group, the same awe-inspiring principle and hard work ethic remained very true to this show.

Wintersleep, an upbeat Canadian band opened the show, but looking around, everyone was there to see Craig Finn and Tad Kubler’s motley crew. The Hold Steady was met, as they walked on stage, by thundering applause and cheering. They picked up their instruments and quickly launched in to  “Constructive Summer.” It was the perfect start that the audience was lusting for, and The Hold Steady delivered.

As their lengthy set continued, there was a healthy mix of older songs from their four previous albums, including “Most People Are DJs,” “Bangin’ Camp” and “Hot Soft Light.” In between the old, a quarter of the set was devoted to their latest record, Heaven Is Whenever. Whether old favorite or brand new, each song was greeted with a ferocious sing-a-long session that their listeners have come to expect over the years.

Finn did his trademark, awkward shuffle and gestured wildly throughout the set much to the audience’s delight. Kubler, the once heavy drinker of the group who usually finished a fifth of whiskey a night, opted to rock out an O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer. It was interesting to see how time had changed them, but even more so to see how they had not fizzled in the least as musicians.

The set list, which often times does not vary from city to city, offered something for new fans and die-hard ones alike.  When the initial 20 songs were finished, the men left the stage in a blur, which left the audience to look forlornly at their instruments and Finn’s trademark Diet Coke sitting there untouched.

The need to wildly clap and cheer after a band has left the stage is instilled in most music fans around the world.  The audience that wanted more cheered them back on stage song for a three song encore that ended with “How A Resurrection Really Feels,” which summed up the whole night’s events to a tee.

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