by Matt Kelchner
I don’t know how Craig Finn, lead singer of The Hold Steady, does it. His band has spent the last several years touring relentlessly and he still comes out every night with the energy and spunk that a band typically has in their first year. This year alone The Hold Steady have played in Philadelphia a handful of times. Yet for Finn and the rest of the guys, it seemed liked it was their first and they had something to prove. ‘
The night started with a short, but impressive set from Lansing, MI’s Cheap Girls. For many of the fans at Underground Arts Monday night, it was more than likely their first time seeing the power pop meets punk trio. As they ripped through song after song, it was clear that they would be leaving Philadelphia with more than a few new fans. For those who are looking for more Cheap Girls, they will be back for a just announced show at the Fire on October 17th. Mark it on your calendars!
As the stage crew began to set the stage for The Hold Steady, the excitement growing from within the crowd was reaching a breaking point. The show Monday was broadcasted live thanks to Yahoo and they could not have picked a better night to do it. The Hold Steady walked out to roaring cheers. Smiles on the faces of Craig Finn, Tad Kubler and company showed their gratefulness. Then the group dove head first into a 20 song set that left the crowd hot, sweaty and begging for more.
Earlier this year The Hold Steady released their sixth full length studio album, Teeth Dreams. While it was represented fairly well with a handful of selections from it played, the crowd was given a career spanning collection of tunes that went as far back as 2005’s Separation Sunday. Kicking things off with “Ask Her for Adderall”, the beginning of the set also featured the likes of “Sequestered in Memphis” and “You Can Make Him Like You”. As the went on there were no signs of slowing down as “Chips Ahoy!”, “Spinners” and “Massive Nights” were played.
The Hold Steady wrapped up their set with “How a Resurrection Really Feels” and then went off for what might have been the shortest waiting time for an encore I’ve ever experienced. I wish I would have timed it because I think it might have clocked in under a minute. Their encore consisted of three songs: “Hornets! Hornets!”, “Stuck Between Stations” and “Stay Positive” (in that order).
As The Hold Steady thanked all of the their for coming out, their smiles were just as big as when they came on that night. They gave their deeply devoted fans, known as the Unified Scene, with a night they’ll never forget and yet another reason to make sure they come back the next time the band is in town.