by Max Stewart
The Hold Steady always felt like an anomality in the rock revival of the early to mid 2000s, their music never quite fit alongside The Strokes, The White Stripes, Bloc Party and other bands of that era. That is because it is uniquely their own, with no trends or pandering about it. More influenced by Springsteen and The Replacements, their live shows are a fully-enveloping event with loyal fans that have stood by for years.
As the band took the stage at Atlanta‘s Variety Playhouse, vocalist/guitarist Craig Finn has an always-animated style in leading the band through the night’s set. The beauty of this band is their raw rock ‘n’ roll alongside direct and oftentimes hilarious lyrics. The combination makes for a sweaty and energetic live event, with a droves of dedicated fans singing every lyric and dancing in the pit. The audience sang loudly with their ‘double whiskey cokes (no ice)’ off of “Constructive Summer” toasting to live music being back this summer (this show was actually pushed back since pre-pandemic).
The imagery deduced from Finn’s lyrics coupled with the powerful, gritty arrangements of “Sequestered in Memphis” makes for a perfect combination live. Staring down their 20th year as a band, The Hold Steady remain a live must-see.