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The Hold Steady

10-Aug-2007 04:22 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
The Hold Steady
The Opera House in Toronto, Ontario The Hold Steady
August 6, 2007
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (27 photos)

Wow, wow, wow! If you think you're a fan of The Hold Steady, you're probably only half the fan that is Craig Finn (vocals, guitar) - I'm almost sure nobody loves the band and music as much as he does. And I don't mean to say he is egotistical, it's not that, it's just that he emits so much positive energy toward being on stage and into the music he plays. I've seen a lot of really great concerts this year, and the reasons why they're great varies, but The Hold Steady is currently holding the spot for overall best show of the year.

The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady

I first found out about this Brooklyn-based band in early 2006 and purchased their 2005 album entitled Separation Sunday from my favourite music source (yes, eMusic.com). It got my attention with Finn's pseudo-talking vocals and tight rock backing, but didn't top my listening charts. Later that same year they released Boys And Girls In America, and because I liked Separation Sunday enough, I purchased the new album a few days after it was released. What happened this time was a little different, the album was bigger and catchier, with tracks such as Southtown Girls bringing me back for more. This one was a creeper... I liked it, so I listened to it, and every time I listened to it, I liked it more. By June 2007, I was itching to see them in concert.

The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady

I'd heard they were great on stage, but hadn't seen any photos, so I really had no idea what to expect. For the most part, it's difficult to pull your eyes away from Finn, whose extremely eccentric gesturing and facial expressions are the real center of attention. It's not like the rest of the band is uninteresting, this is definitely a team effort. Like the also eccentric Franz Nicolay (keyboards, accordion, harmonica) who's accordion solos seemed to fit well into the madness. But every time I found my attention focused on one of the other band members, Finn would do something to grab me back. Their big-city rock sound translates really well to the bigger, louder, sound-systems in the venues.

The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady

It was extremely difficult for me to narrow down the photos that I wanted to publish from this show. Finn is just so expressive. After multiple passes, I still had over 40 that reminded me of various points in the concert so strongly that I want to put them all up. After some internal debates, I finally settled on a set of 27 photos, which is still more than normal. (I have kept many, many more for my personal collection). I wasn't the only photographer there... at the end of the encore, Finn grabbed a camera and took three or four shots of the crowd, all in different directions, in an attempt to get every single person in the venue into his photos. I met a group of guys there, most of them brought by one single friend. I can see how that happened, because the next time around I plan on bringing all my music-loving friends. It's like that old shampoo commercial, but with a bigger multiplier: I told four friends, and they told four friends, and on and on. Last time it was The Horseshoe, this time The Opera House, where next?

The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady

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