The Hold Steady: Live
at First Avenue in Minneapolis
Written by: Corey Tate
There's something almost religious about seing the
Hold Steady in Minneapolis. I know the
band resides in New York, and I know theyre
not Lifter Puller. But all of the songs are about
the Twin Cities and name drop locations from all over
Minneapolis and its blue collar buddy St Paul. You
can literally listen to Separation Sunday and
hear about all sorts of locations from St Paul's arty
Lowertown to the fringe of Minneapolis.
The band seemed very happy to be playing First
Avenue, and in Minneapolis. Lead singer Craig
Finn told us many stories about his time in Minneapolis
he almost seemed nostalgic for his time here.
He talked about how the band lives in Brooklyn now,
where everyone is a critic. He seemed to long for
the days of living around Minneapolis. He told a story
about how when he was a kid he made a deal with his
dad to mow the lawn in exchange for his dad driving
him into town to buy a copy of the Replacement's album
Tim when it first came out. Craig was freaking out
at the time because the album came out on a Tuesday
and his dad couldn't take him into town until Saturday...
and he had to go all of those days with the album
being out and not hearing it. That was the eighties
- no internet, no buying songs online or even a cool
suburban record store. He had to have his dad take
him to the super cool Oarfolkjokeopus - a place
on Lyndale Ave in Uptown that carried cool indie music.
The audience was fully glued for a Sunday night show.
The First Avenue main room was entirely full,
and most stayed all the way through the show. Craig
remarked partway through the set, with intoxication
starting to set in "So what doyou say?
I'm gonna give you an opportunity. You got 30 seconds...
you're callin' in sick to work and you and your friends
are doin' another shot at the bar. We'll stay up all
night and if we get seperated we'll meet at the Stone
Arch Bridge at dawn." The crowd loved that, but
I'll bet few of them stayed up all night.
So how was it? Unbelievable. Maybe it had to do with
the fact that it was Minneapolis, but the band was
on for most of the show (considering the drinking).
No small feat for a band that keeps a case of beer
on stage with them for handy access. And the vibe
was there. This wasn't a technically proficient show,
but there was all of the gritty sweat and emotion
that we know and love about the Hold Steady.
Craig was all manic swagger, motioning with his hands
as he sang (see the slideshow link below for photos).
He has this feverish way of making you focus intently
on the story hes telling you, like its
the best thing in the world you could hear right at