The Hold Steady live at the Ogden Theater, May 22nd
I thought that Westword writer Cole Haddon was just being mean when he wrote that The Hold Steady is "fronted by a guy who can't really sing" in last week's issue. But turns out he was absolutely right. Frontman Craig Finn isn't a great singer, he has more of a "talk-singing" thing going on. But his lyrics are borderline genius and pure poetry.
Finn is charismatic, energetic, passionate, and last night he moved around the stage like a dehydrated Helen Keller on speed. Finn looks more like a dentist than a rock star, and his neurosis makes him both interesting and personable.
His lyrics can get a little "wordy" at times, and it's hard to distinguish what he's saying while the band rocks their balls off and he jumps around on stage. During the live show it was a double-edged sword when the band rocked out and the great lyrics were being drowned out. Such was the case during the songs "Chicago seemed tired last night", "Guys go for looks, girls go for status", and "Everyone's a critic and Most people are djs". But overall, I thought this was a good show.
The opening bands were- Swayback and Heartless Bastards. Swayback sounded great as a band- good sound, nice rhythm. But the lead singer's voice didn't fit. His voice sounded a little too theatrical for the music. Heartless Bastards were ok, but slightly underwhelming.
The final grades;
Heartless Bastards C
The Hold Steady B+