Craig Finn walks into a bar ...
The Hold Steady
Sunday, 7:45pm, Orange stage
True to its name, the Hold Steady has proven a stalwart of indie rock, releasing five albums since 2004 and managing a near-constant tour. The now-sextet has remained grounded in its Midwestern, classic Springsteenian rock & roll roots, even as the music scene in their adopted home base of Brooklyn churned through the latest fickle trends.
"Certainly I think some of our sound was in reaction to, or maybe in spite of, some of the dance-punk stuff that was happening here when we started; it just got really out of control, really quickly," offers Craig Finn, the Hold Steady's charismatic, proselytizing frontman who moved to Brooklyn from Minnesota at the turn of the century. "I mean there were some great songs, like [some by] the Rapture, but within, like, two weeks after that, every band was doing that. So we just wanted to be a rock band, a straight rock band. And I think the other thing is that our goal with the Hold Steady was just to be very honest to people's ear in a very ironic time."
With their first shot across the bar on 2004's Almost Killed Me (Frenchkiss), the Hold Steady became the soundtrack to late-night restlessness, burning cathartic anthems of youthful bliss and folly. It's a thread pulled through to this year's Heaven Is Whenever (Vagrant).
"Making this last record, I was hyperaware of the fact that we were making our fifth record, but also that I was 38 and about to turn 39, and I feel like a lot of our audience is in that same position," notes Finn. "You can preach or give advice to your kid or your younger brother, but, like growing up in Minnesota, it's like touching your tongue to something metal in the cold: Everyone has to do it once to actually believe it's going to get stuck."