Monday, June 13, 2005

Hold Steady at BOTH

Show: Hold Steady at BOTH
Headliner: Hold Steady
Openers: United States of Electronica, The Cops
Location: Bottom of the Hill (BOTH) in San Francisco, CA
Date: Sunday, June 12, 2005

Wow, what a great show. I'm still recovering.

First, a bit of background. I'd seen Hold Steady at BOTH back in February when they were an opener for Helio Sequence/Thermals during Noise Pop. Back then they stole the show, and I instantly became a big fan of the Hold Steady. They released a new album about a month ago, which I had listened to but not yet picked up. United States of Electronica (USE) I'd heard of and even given their disc a listen through once. I didn't love it, but they have a couple of songs that are tightly tied to my reminisces of my summer in Seattle, WA. Which is a good thing.

Show started kinda late. Doors at 9p and The Cops band didn't come on till 9:40. They played a decent if not spectacular set. They look like they party pretty hard, and the definitely play loud. A good band to get the crowd warmed up and in front of the stage.

Next came on the United States of Electronica. They played a fun and enjoyable set. At note point did I feel like checking my watch to estimate when the next band would be on. They played most of the songs of theirs that I remembered, and it was good for the nostalgia edge. I don't think they're a draw on their own, but I could see them as a definite plus for going to a concert with a middle of the road headliner.

The Hold Steady came on just after 11:30p. I was figuring a short set considering the late start time and the likelihood of zoning laws. I was incorrect. The show only ended at 1:10a. The reasons I suspect for that is that 1) It looked like they hadn't practiced any other songs and 2) They were starting to get drunk off their ass. Each of the 5 guys in the band had a drink with them, and one of the guitarists was shot gunning out of a bottle of Jim Beam. When the band left the stage to do the "encore" thing, it looked more like they were just going to get a bunch of beer to bring back on stage with them. For the rest of the show, the lead singer would occasionally hand out a few bottles of Bud.

Listening to the Hold Steady albums, which I enjoy quite a bit, really doesn't do justice to their live shows. When they say they're a bar band, they ain't liars. In person they put on a show that's just pure awesomeness. They more or less play their albums straight through without much variation from the track list, but that's largely due to the fact that their albums tell stories. Out of order just wouldn't work as well. The main set was their new album and the encore was more or less their previous (and first) album. I'm running out of words to describe just how much they rocked, but the show was just a lot of fun. Definitely go and check them out.

And I'll work on trying to finish recovering.


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