I went to see The Hold Steady for the first time Wednesday night. The first note they played sent an arrow straight through my heart. They started their set off with The Sweet Part of the City, followed by You Can Make Him Like You and Hurricane J. It was euphoric. Lately when I’ve been going to shows I can’t help but notice how much they resemble the church services I attended when I was a kid, and Wednesday night was no exception. There was lots of singing along with upraised arms, for instance, and Craig Finn at times resembled a choir director when he interacted with the audience. I love the way The Hold Steady works religious references into their songs. The most notable difference for me between church and rock and roll is the fact that I have faith in the latter to the extent that it’s replaced the former for me, as as a result I’m way more eager to respond to an altar call when it’s led by someone who considers Joe Strummer a saint, for instance.
Other highlights of the night were Ascension Blues, Stuck Between Stations, Constructive Summer, Magazines, Rock Problems and Sequestered in Memphis.
I sort of crashed halfway through the set, due to my switched around sleep schedule and the several glasses of alcohol I chose over caffeine, which I see now would have been a better choice. It was great to see them perform though. And it was great to see lots of people really into them.