Hold Steady... it's the Hold Steady
The Hold Steady
With the rash of hip, trendy bands we've had playing in Belfast of late, The Hold Steady were a refreshing change of pace.
A modern sound borne of Springsteen, Thin Lizzy and The Replacements, The Hold Steady do hard-working rock 'n' roll the old-fashioned way. Blistering guitars, gruff half-spoken/half-sung vocals, these guys are the real deal. They aren't cool, they aren't the latest fad, they aren't part of any movement or 'sound', and they're all the better for it. Their unlikely anthems aren't quite going to make it to the indie student disco floor anytime soon, but that only makes them better, makes them something you can really get behind. They're guys trying to make real records, writing songs about real things that real people can relate to, and judging from Wednesday night's performance they are succeeding in leaps and bounds.
A devoted audience sang every word of highlights 'First Night', 'Southtown Girls', 'Chips Ahoy!', 'You Can Make Him Like You', 'Barfruit Blues' and 'Killer Parties', band and crowd each equally enthralled and consumed by the raw intensity and joy going on in front of them.
It's rare to find a band who can communicate this kind of raw truth to their audience without adopting affectations or tools of style, fantasy and illusion. And it's not that we don't need the bands who communicate in this way; it's just that we also really, really need bands like The Hold Steady.