So I've been freaking out about an upcoming rock show for the past couple of weeks . . . and it's not Bruce. Among my most recent favorite bands is a group called The Hold Steady, a group out of Brooklyn, via Minneapolis. They have been indie heartthrobs for awhile, now on the verge of larger stardom. Their newest album, Heaven Is Whenever comes out May 4th and their tour touches down in the 'Cuse on Saturday at the Westcott Theatre.
The lead singer and songwriter Craig Finn is a huge Springsteen fan and, of course, this is how I heard about the band. A reviewer said their second album "Separation Sunday" was what a Springsteen album would sound like if Bruce were a twenty-something growing up in Minneapolis I went right out and bought the disc and have been a huge fan ever since.
Finn is a pre-Born To Run Springsteen writer and musician, lyrics bursting with way too many words for the meter, anthemic music playing behind a romantic depiction of young folks struggling to make sense of the hardships of everyday life. Finn is also what Springsteen might have been if he was an undergraduate English Lit major.
The Hold Steady songs, listened to over several albums, have many similarities. Finn writes about several characters that are either alluded to or named on every album–Hallelujah (Holly), Gideon and Charlemagne–young kids fighting to stay alive in a mileau of neglect, drug abuse, minor criminal activity and the attempt to realize their dreams of family and community (the mythologized "unified scene" of young musicians and fans.) The writing is also liberally spiced with Catholic religious imagery, another trait Finn shares w/ Bruce.
But these songs are not novels, the band really kicks ass–a band whose influences acknowledge more of a debt to hard rock than the R & B, by-the-sea past of the E Streeters.
As you can tell, I'm incredible excited to see this band–even more so in a theatre, a theatre that I can walk to from my house! I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me after the show.