What a week it has been, it would only be fitting to cap it off in celebration. The pride of New York would headline one of the biggest homecoming concerts they have done in some time. Brooklyn rockers The Hold Steady and Alabama's Drive By Truckers Co-Headlining the "Rock and Roll Means Well Tour," arrived in a two night stay at Terminal 5. Hell's Kitchen was ablaze on the sold out final night of a pure good old fashion rock and roll show. Coming out guns a-blazing The Hold Steady opened with "Constructive Summer," a song of furious rock epic proportions about life, love and music supplied with a simple prayer to Joe Strummer it would platform the rest of the night. Hold Steady front man Craig Finn showed off his pure front man brilliance. Finn is part Shakespearean actor, part slam poet and using his guitar and mic stand for prop purposes only, his arms flailing around in the air with a smile from ear to ear. Finn was celebrating not only the victory of coming home to a big audience, his band successes, a new President, he was celebrating the idea that his words have reached out to so many in a time when words mean so much.
The Hold Steady are not just your typical band singing about angst. It is the angst that drives us day in and day out at every age on why their music hits so many demographics and groups of people. If you are 15, 25, 35, 45 years old, you can find something to relate to and have the songs become your own. Finn is not just the only one in the band offering something or someone to watch, guitarist Tab Kubler is one of the best his generation has put out. An underrated guitarist with the talent of his idols, he shreds and strums like an animal. Pianist Franz Nicolay (who is looking more like Italian Actor Alberto Sordi and less like Porn Star Ron Jeramey), swigs from his bottle of wine while jumping and dancing in place. The rhythm section of Bobby Drake (drums) and Galen Polivka (bass) are the back bone keeping the band in line. Playing for almost two hours, including a joint venture on stage during the encore with members of Drive By Truckers and The Loved Ones (who were in the audience, but not on the bill), Finn was two sheets to the wind by the end of the night, slurring his words and thoughts. While the musicians showed camaraderie while showing to their audience, Rock and Roll really does mean well.
Clearly a band who in the end of all of this will prove their longevity. The reality is clear after following them for a few years now, The Hold Steady are here to make true American thought provoking rock and roll music proud once again in a music world dominated by commercial distortion.
Set List: The Hold Steady @ Terminal 5 11/7/08
“You Gotta Dance (With Who You Came to the Dance With)”
“Multitude of Casualties”
“Sequestered in Memphis”
“One for the Cutters”
“Ask Her for Adderall”
“Arms & Hearts”
“Lord, I’m Discouraged”
“Your Little Hoodrat Friend”
“Most People Are DJs”
“How a Resurrection Really Feels”
“History Lesson Part II”
“Ride On” (AC/DC Cover with members of Drive By Truckers)
“Burnin’ For You” (Blue Oyster Cult Cover with members of Drive By Truckers)
“Killer Parties” (with members of Drive By Truckers and The Loved Ones)