Saturday, April 9, 2011

Live Review - The Hold Steady @ Terminal 5

Baseball season is in full swing across the country and New York City has had a long standing in America's past time. With Baseball and spring in bloom, what better way to kick off a new season than with New York's best band that loves baseball just as much as New York loves their Bronx Bombers and Mr. Met. The Hold Steady returned to their home, the city that never sleeps after a long tour through Europe. The last time we saw them was at the end of January as Brooklyn, the band's home base were sending them off in a two night stint at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Now the band are back and were on fire, after years of covering the band, this was the longest set I have ever seen them do. Just shy of two hours, clocking in at an hour and 50 minutes on stage, The Hold Steady were triumphant and brought with them the fun energy that their audience needed to release their end of the week jitters.
Walking out to the iconic sounds of Ennio Morricone, the Brooklyn five piece were welcomed with a rousing round of applause in the massive Manhattan venue. Opening with the somber and slow "Both Crosses," The Hold Steady were surprising fans right away, normally the band has a bombastic opening and kick starts the show into high gear from the first note. Last night they changed things up a bit and threw their massive following a curve ball but went right into the heater following their dramatic opener with "Stuck Between Stations," "Hurricane J," "Girls Like Status" and kept delivering from there on. Much like in Brooklyn, what was noticeably absent was the absence of Dan Neustadt, who replaced longtime keyboardist and backing vocalist Franz Nicolay was not on stage. In Brooklyn, most of the audience, including myself, thought well maybe Dan will not be going to Europe with the band. Now that the band is back and he is still on stage, maybe he has left the group and no announcement was made. Never the less the band can and has carried on quite well without him, however, the missing keyboards and piano are a bit vital to the bands classic rock and roll sound.
Plowing through their vast catalogue, The Hold Steady did what they did best, just had as much fun or as singer Craig Finn says "There is so much joy in what we do on stage!" That joy is showcased each and every single time they band goes on to do work. Finn later in the night would explain that he started this band 10 years ago when he was 30 and will soon be 40 "the next time you see me, I will be 40 and this has been the greatest job I have ever had. Thank you and I hope your decade and this next decade was as good as this." The love and joy this band has for their fans, their fans have for this band.
Opening the show were Indiana band, Murder By Death. The band, who's songs are mainly about whisky and the devil brought their drinking ho-down, demonic country/rock songs to the opening set. Two heavy drinking bands on one bill, it was bound to be a glorious and fun night. Murder By Death, who are constantly evolving with their Johnny Cash meets Springsteen sound at points were swallowed by the massive size of Terminal 5 and put the band in an off position. All was forgiven and forgotten once the main attraction rose to the stage just a half hour later.

The Hold Steady - Terminal 5 4/8/11 Setlist:

Both Crosses
Stuck Between Stations
Hurricane J
Girls Like Status
Barfruit Blues
The Swish
Rock and Roll Problems
The Sweet Part of the City
You Can Make Him Like You
Barely Breathing
Sequestered in Memphis
Stevie Nix
Multitude of Causalities
Lord I'm Discouraged
The Weekenders
Southtown Girls
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Massive Nights
Chips Ahoy

Constructive Summer
Hot Soft Light
Stay Positive
Killer Parties