ConcertHop: The Hold Steady at WTC

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The Wikipedia article for The Hold Steady says that Daniel Radcliffe has proclaimed the quintet as his “favourite band.”  He’s in good company; the formerly Twin Cities-based rockers (now the pride of Brooklyn) have reached the apotheosis of indie stardom.  Following the release of their third-life crisis album, Boys and Girls in America, they toured high and low (including here, with thanks to CU Concerts), apparently building up a reputation as one of those bands that just needs to be seen live.

They played for free at World Trade Center 7 earlier tonight to a half-suited, half-Williamsburg crowd.  You’ve got to hand it to them for turning an almost completely sober bunch (except for the clearly ecstasied contingent in the very front) into absolutely elated head-boppers.  Craig Finn, the madcap frontman, exuded pure joy.  He bolted around the stage flailing his arm like a little kid, jumped up and down with his guitar over his body as if he wouldn’t mind if it ended up on the ground, and made up hand motions to his lyrics that if done by anyone else would look ridiculous.  Keyboardist Franz Nicolay, wearing a bizarre black ensemble and beret, soloed with one hand and chugged a bottle of red wine with the other.

By the end of the set, Finn was wasted and making awkward references to 9/11, but no matter.  Anyone who belts “You don’t have to deal with the dealers/let your boyfriend deal with the dealers” with a Cheshire cat smile is instantly forgiven, and one of everyone’s favourite performers again.

Tomorrow:  M. Ward headlines (supported by Victoria Williams and McCarthy Trenching).  Again without charge.  World Trade Center 7, 5:30pm. 

– Jessica Cohen 

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  1. yeah yeah  

    Now what about the Old 97's?

  2. Jessica  

    I was still in class.

  3. It was great  

    until some excited groupies got on stage and started dowsing the front row with budweiser. finn was fantastic though -- eccentric and endearing.

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