With the exception of, I dunno, the Minnesota Twins’ dugout, is there a better place in the world to see the Hold Steady than in a beer garden with three of New York’s bridges to the right and the South Street Seaport mall to the left? Well, probably could have done without the mall, but no, there’s not. Especially at a show where the band plays “Magazines,” “Chips Ahoy,” “Stuck Between Stations,” “Stevie Nix,” and “Lord, I’m Discouraged” in a row, and ends with “How a Resurrection Really Feels.”
Wisely, Craig Finn & Co. mostly stuck to albums 2-4 of their discography, only playing a few songs from 2010’s somewhat disappointing Heaven Is Whenever, and there was nary a trace of any new material (they’re supposedly hitting the studio for album #6 soon) or Finn’s solo material.
Some songs, in particular “Stuck Between Stations,” sounded a little naked without keyboardist Franz Nicolay, who departed from the group last year, but the band was tight without sounding constrained (especially Tad Kubler, who brought out the doubleneck guitar for “Discouraged”), and Finn was his typical smiley, sweaty, crashing-all-over-the-stage self. Maybe the solo album means the Hold Steady are finished after the next record, but holy shit, it's been a fun ride, hasn't it?
Photos below, by Nadia Chaudhury