Hold Steady LIVE review by Troy Brookins

Music Reviews
Hold Steady LIVE review by Troy Brookins
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Jul 1, 2008, 07:09

Verizon pitchman caught moonlighting

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
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THE HOLD STEADY / LOVED ONES /  J RODDY AND THE BUSINESS at McCarren Park Pool, Brooklyn, NY; JUNE 29, 2008

Despite a thunderstorm that pissed rain, JELLYNYC's Pool Parties kicked off this past Sunday at McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is the third summer that free Sunday concerts are being held in the defunct six-acre swimming pool that shut in 1983. The city plans to reopen the space as a rehabbed summer spot, but until that happens the best place to spend a drunken summer Sunday afternoon in NYC is Williamsburg.Â

The rain kept me from catching Loved Ones and J Roddy and the Business, but I was told that each band turned in great sets despite the nasty weather.Â

Brooklyn's own The Hold Steady headlined the event, showcasing songs from their forthcoming record Stay Positive. The sky cleared shortly before band took the stage and not a drop was felt throughout their seventy-five minute performance. The heat and humidity had singer Craig Finn dripping with sweat as he kicked into a handful of favorites that included “The Swish,” “Stuck Between Stations” and “Your Little Hoodrat Friend.” But today was about new material and the kids in the front didn't miss a beat, singing along to every word while pumping their fists in appreciation. Finn played off the energy with his abbreviated Joe Cocker gesticulations and nasal sing-speak delivery, giving as good as he was getting.

Today was also guitarist Tad Kubler's birthday, which Finn announced between songs. About two-thirds through the set the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” and Kubler responded with a shy denial while a huge grin crossed his face. He wasn't the only one smiling. Everyone was having a great time.

The Hold Steady has consistently given better with each record while enthusiastically embraced by critics and fans from the start.  The praise is warranted when you get comparisons to Springsteen without even trying. Is there anyone out there who writes a better lyric than Craig Finn? He's definitely channeling something and has yet to come up short. Catching this band in their adopted hometown is always something special, but catching them for free at McCarren Pool was just a bit better.

-Troy Brookins

all pics © Troy Brookins

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