Review: The Hold Steady bring bar room rock to another bar room
Note: This story ran online at Newsok.com early Saturday.
Sometimes, bands are specifically meant to be heard live.
For patrons of The Hold Steady’s Friday night show at the Diamond Ballroom, this became apparent midway through “Sequestered in Memphis,” the 12th song in a 90-minute set, when lead singer Craig Finn’s lyrical subject matter seemed more real than anything.
“In bar light, she looked alright/In daylight, she looked desperate/That’s alright I was desperate too,” he sang as a gaggle of nearing-their-30s women danced, pointed and laughed to stage right.
Finn grinned a mischievous grin and pointed back at the ladies, a gesture he repeated approximately 537 times Friday night.
He’s a paradox, the singer. Typically a hard-rocking front man dresses in black, oozes cool, and swaggers about the stage like he purchased it by peeling off Ben Franklins and slapping them down one by one.
Not Finn. His usual register is something like a nerd requesting the bully to release him from a headlock. The anti-frontman dresses like everyone else in the venue — flannel button-down (without sleeves), white Adidas sneakers, miniature black frame glasses, a cheap watch.
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