Thursday, October 25, 2007

Videos from The Hold Steady and more!

(Videos removed)

Last night I caught The Hold Steady, along with Art Brut and Demander at Lincoln Theatre. I had really been looking forward the The Hold Steady, but, man, I was not prepared to pay $18 to get in. A friend of mine at work accused me of always "bitching" about the price of shows. Well, I'll bitch about having to pay $18 to see a band in a club! I noticed that the lead singer from Train is performing at Lincoln Theatre next week, and it's $25 to get in! Back in 1989, I paid $25 to see the Rolling Stones at Carter Finley (and I had good seats, too). I thought at the time I was paying a mint. I don't care who it is -- it just doesn't sit right with me to pay that much to see a band in a club. It reminds me of the story Dion tells about why he didn't get on the plane with Buddy Holly. He could have afforded the $36 for the flight, but that was the same amount he had paid years before for rent in New York. The symbolism made him decide not to get on the plane.

Having said that, all three bands rocked, and were definitely worth my $18. Demander, a female-led three piece that sounded a good bit like The Sugarcubes, was playing when I walked in. They grew on me as I watched them, so I bought their CD, "The Unkindness of Ravens," which turned out to be more focused and exciting than their live show. I don't like their name, though. I can't remember it. I keep wanting to call them Defender, which would be a great name. I think more bands should name themselves after classic '80s video games. WHY WON'T SOMEONE TAKE MY ADVICE AND NAME A BAND WIZARD OF WOR?

Art Brut were up next. I had one friend tell me he was going to get there early specifically to see them, and another tell me he was going to avoid them at all costs. I ended up liking them, dare I say it, MORE than The Hold Steady. Real English, dancey new wavish pub rock. Their front man was a funny, sloppy beer-budget version of Bryan Ferry, and gave shoutouts to both Birds of Avalon and the Mountain Goats (see the first video, below). After their set I ran into Cheetie and Paul, who were mystified as to how this band knew about them. Cheetie's suggestion was that maybe they hype a local band each night, and ask the sound man at each venue who they should mention. Since they know the soundman at the Lincoln, maybe he suggested them. All this is speculation of course. If anyone has seen Art Brut in another town, I would like to know if they do this schtick elsewhere.

Finally, The Hold Steady came on. I started off the evening up in the balcony, and got some crappy video as a result. If Bruce Springsteen was a dweebish, drug-obsessed Minnesotan with a button down shirt and a really raspy voice, he'd be Craig Finn. But most impressive to me was guitarist Tad Kubler, who won my heart by slinging his guitar, Yngwie-style, backwards around his back, and then ended the set by using some strange Theramin-like item to create sonic chaos. After the show I ran up to the roadie and asked if it was a tiny Theramin. He showed it to me (it fit in his hand) and said it worked with light. I don't know enough about guitar electronics to know what that means, but it sounded cool. Other than Craig and Tad, I enjoyed watching the band's keyboard/accordion player, who looked like a cross between Gallagher and a minor henchman from The Godfather.

Here are two Hold Steady videos.

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