The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady
The Garage. Glasgow
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I gave up on trying to talk friends around to The Hold Steady a long time ago.
That's maybe part of the reason why this show was downgraded from a larger venue along the road - that, or the fact the show was scheduled for a Wednesday night in the middle of October. But smaller spaces are the making of a band like The Hold Steady who, despite currently boasting a dual-guitar line-up packing enough riffs to fill an airport, specialise in the sort of old-fashioned communal sweat-and-tears rock show that everybody goes home having felt a part of.
Despite having a new album to promote, it being three and a half years from their last Glasgow show proper seemed to give the band an excuse to play something of a greatest hits set. After opening with the slacker-poetry of Positive Jam - the first track from their first album, with its half-hearted mission statement of "I got bored when I didn't have a band and so I started a band" - the closest the band came to slowing down was emotive nostalgia-fest First Night, a song so huge and crushing it was hardly a chance for a breather.
Frontman Craig Finn, in his glasses and button-down shirt, looked more like a maths teacher than a rock star but his wide eyes, wider arms and demented off-mic mouthing of the words turned him into an alt-rock preacher when the band started to play.
Steve Selvidge and Tad Kubler's duelling guitars on new songs like Spinners in particular kept the party fires burning until, as the final song said, it almost killed us.