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The Hold Steady

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 they’re 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 he’s telling you, like it’s the best thing in the world you could hear right at that moment.

RATING: ***** 4 out of 5 stars


 VIEW a slideshow of photos from the show

 More music reviews



Show Date:
October 30th, 2005

First Avenue, Minneapolis

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