Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Springsteen Fans Should Love the Hold Steady

Admit it, the wait has been arduous, and it’s hard to find ways to occupy your time while Bruce is off making a new record. We’ve all been forced to take up new hobbies. Because I am music junkie myself, I am constantly buying new stuff. And I have, in the last six months or so, developed a severe addiction to Vagrant recording artists The Hold Steady. Here’s why you, as a Springsteen fan, should too.

Top Ten Reasons Springsteen Fans Should Love the Hold Steady:

1) The Sound. The Hold Steady’s sound has been likened to Bruce, but that’s too simple. Yes, it’s dense and guitar driven. Yes, they have been compared to everyone from Modest Mouse to The Replacements, but there’s more to it than that. Floating among Craig Finn’s nasal vocals and Tad Kubler’s juicy power chords are some pretty lovely melodies. There are Franz Nicolay’s lush, romantic keyboards, Galen Polivka’s dynamic bass and Bobby Drake’s solid backbeat. But what hits you hard, what grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go are the passion and the drama of the music; filled with unabashed emotional intensity, it’s the sort of addictive stuff that’s hard to find either on the air or on iPods. Simultaneously unique and comfortingly familiar, it’s the first thing you want to hear in the morning and what you listen to on headphones all day.

2) The Shows. While not overly long (usually under two hours), they are sonic blasts of energy that leave you pumped for days. Thoroughly satisfying and addictive like crack.

3) The Fans. They know every word to every song and aren’t afraid to sing (or shout) along. They have memorized every nuance, every Craig Finn gesture. They are passionate and intense and at showtime, they are 100% focused on the stage. No bathroom breaks, no beer runs (ok, there’s usually one or two), no talking, no whining. They are totally there. They are a true community, and some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.

4) The Guys in the Band. How else can you say it? This is just a bunch of nice, normal guys. They’re smart and funny, the kind of people you want to hang out and get drunk with. But it’s more than that—they really love what they do and they have a great time doing it. Above all, they’re music fans too.

5) The Lyrics. Clever, dense, intellectually challenging, tender, passionate, funny, joyful, tragic playful, heartbreaking. They steal your heart, fill your soul and power your brain. Craig Finn’s lyrics are reminiscent of early Springsteen, and his characters every bit as memorable. And he’s even working the trilogy thing: where Bruce has the Born To Run/Darkness/River trifecta, THS gives us Almost Killed Me, Separation Sunday, and Boys and Girls in America. And where Bruce tells the stories of Wendy, Mary and Sherry on those records, Finn gives us Halle, Gideon and Charlemagne.

6) They’re Springsteen Fans Too. These guys love Bruce as much as you do and aren’t afraid to say so. And don’t challenge them on the trivia, because they know their B-sides.

7) Tickets. Easy to get and inexpensive. Nuff said.

8) They’re Coming To Your Town. Their record’s out now (not at some undisclosed future time), and they’re currently on the road. Coming soon to a town near you.

9) Bruce is a Fan.

And this is the most important reason of all…
10) They will make you believe in rock’n’roll again. (No further explanation needed.)

So without further ado, buy the record –Boys and Girls in America – and give it a listen. And by all means, go to a show. Who knows—you might just bump into a certain Mr. Springsteen…

For further info: