Sunday, 6 February 2011

The Hold Steady

04-02-11_2041 Out on Friday to the students union to see The Hold Steady, a US band much favoured by my co-attendee, JA. Although my iPod actually already holds some of their work (courtesy of a transfusion in 2010 from JA), I went in not knowing a single one of their songs. Partly because I'd just not gotten around to listening, but also because I was curious about what it would be like to attend the concert of a group whose canon I knew diddly squat about.

The most overwhelming impression of the band was: "loud". Even today, I've still got a rather obvious ringing in my ears. I had thought the support act, Wintersleep, were cranked up a little high, but The Hold Steady clarified exactly where 11 was on the sound system. But, permanent hearing damage aside, it was pleasurably satisfying to soak up music that you could both hear and feel.

04-02-11_2224 As for the music itself, well, it was good, boisterous rock from both the main act and the support. The elevated sound level didn't, I think, let it shine to the best degree, but I got the idea. In fact, the band's most obvious asset, its lead singer, did get a bit short-changed by the volume. He was clearly the focus on the stage, but his singing did get reduced to a few obviously enunciated catchwords plus choruses. Which, as I now understand from the AV Club, is a bit of a pity as he can definitely write, even if there was something of a hint of the messianic in the lead's on-stage miming.

Anyway, did the evening convince me to finally track down the band on my iPod? Definitely. I might just wait until the buzzing stops.

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