Last Sunday, Dorinna and I drove to the Fox Theatre in Boulder to see The Hold Steady. The Hold Steady is my pick for “Best Bar Band in America.” Musically, they are a cross between The Replacements and Bruce Springsteen- some punk elements, but with complex melodies and outstanding musicianship. The lyrics… well they’re certainly unique:
kids with broken hearts, kids with broken bones. kids with kidney stones giving birth to bloody stereos. systems are all dripping wet with gristle piss and swizzlesticks. mary’s got a bloody nose from sniffing margarita mix. she licked her lower lip and then she kissed that halleluiah chick. she came off kind of spicy but she tasted like those pickle chips. we thought she was a dancer but her steps they made the records skip. she came off kind of crunchy but she went down like a chicken strip. dripping wet with the special sauce. she had a confidence smile and a nervous cough. we got off. she said it’s good to see you back in a bar band, baby. i said it’s great to see you’re still in the bars.
This is the kind of band where you can be dancing around enjoying the energy and the crowd, then stop and close your eyes, and just listen for a minute and realize “wow- these guys sound really good.”
It was also fun just to watch the guys. Craig Finn, the lead singer, was the antithesis of a rock star, dressed in a plaid shirt and thick-rimmed black glasses. Franz Nicolay on the keyboards wore a black suit, red tie, black beret, and, oh yes, his pants ended a good six inches up from the floor. He slugged all night from a bottle of red wine and did crazy dances. Quite fun.
The play list was as follows:
- Party Pit (“Boys and Girls in America” = BGA)
- Stuck Between Stations (BGA)
- Hot Soft Light (BGA)
- Ask Her for Adderall
- Barfruit Blues (“Almost Killed Me” = AKM)
- Massive Nights (BGA)
- The Swish (AKM)
- Banging Camp (“Separation Sunday” = SS)
- Lord, I’m Discouraged
- You Can Make Him Like You (BGA)
- Your Little Hoodrat Friend (SS)
- South Town Girls (BGA)
- Positive Jam (AKM)
- Killer Parties (AKM)
The opening bands were both very good, or at least good enough to get the party started.
The Blood Arm was a pop/punk band, reminiscent of Good Shoes. The lead singer looked like a frantic neanderthal as he jumped all over the stage (and beyond), while the guitarist, a mod moppet named Sebastian, furiously strummed his instrument. The keyboardist was moderately hot in a red dress.
The second opening act, Art Brut, was more of a pure English punk band. Fun, hyper-energetic, but not necessarily what I would listen to if I was sitting at home. Proving turnabout is fair play, Dorinna claimed that the blonde rhythm guitarist was “moderately hot.”