Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Hold Steady @ Irving Plaza

The Hold Steady; The Rosewood Thieves
@ Irving Plaza
New York, NY - March 30, 2009

It was fitting that the 1-year anniversary concert of New York's very revivalist rock station, WRXP, would feature the most revivalist band around - the Hold Steady. If there is one thing that this band displays over and over and over again, is what a picture perfect portrait they are of bar band/classic rock/punk. At least in terms of the sounds they are suckers for (those Tad Kubler solos are sicker than ever). On the other hand, I've come to the conclusion that if Craig Finn sang about Ingmar Bergman and sex instead of John Cassavettes and drugs, he'd really just be Woody Allen - and that's not exactly following the rock n' roll playbook. The mere fact that after 7 or 8 Hold Steady experiences I can still find this stuff relevatory, is a testament to this band's depth.
From the set list, the appearance of "Don't Let me Explode" was a nice surprise - one of these embedded Separation Sunday tracks that grow on you and bloom some years after you first heard it. And after a year on the bench, "Killer Parties" was brought onto the field (or the ice if you prefer) to resume its rightful spot as the finale - and the band brought it back in its most intense form yet, the resounding flourish ricocheting off the crowd and around Irving Plaza, a swelling of the joy that Craig also felt the need to remind us of, something he hasn't done in quite awhile.

Rosewood Thieves sound like Bob Dylan 1965-1976. That's it. That's exactly what they sound like. They're good at it. But that's what they sound like. No room for anything to else say about them. That's it. Quite a box if you ask me. But a very good box all the same.

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