Friday, July 25, 2008

Pitchfork Music Festival: The Hold Steady

No, not that one.
When I found out that the only appearance of The Hold Steady here in Chicago would be at a three-day music festival, I think my first reaction was: dammit, now I gotta buy a ticket to a stupid music festival. Which I did pretty quick.

So I sat through a bunch of uninteresting openers in order to hear the "world's biggest bar band," The Hold Steady, for possibly the only time in 2008. (I never thought I'd get spoiled by anything in New York City, but seeing the Steady on a regular basis is definitely one.)

When Vampire Weekend finished and their fans flowed out, I joined the mass of Steady fans rushing towards the stage. I stood crammed in near the front with several youngerish, sweaty people. For some reason the only shirtless people were males, and uncomfortably close to me.

The show finally starts. After all the lethargic bands and audiences, it was exciting to hear the crowd cheer as *any* band takes the stage, much less my favorite band.

They opened the same way they did for the NON-Commvention in Philadelphia in late May: "Constructive Summer" leading directly into "Hot Soft Light."

One cool non-musical part was when someone near the front tossed something onstage near Craig. Craig was holding the mic stand in his right hand, and without really moving stuck out his left hand and snagged the object out of the air. It was a Twins visor, which he put on, and the crowd cheered lustily in acknowledgement of his Minnesota loyalties. (Like the prior post, all photos by me unless otherwise noted.)

Craig with the visor.

As for the was a good set. I knew it wouldn't be an all-time, have your extremities rocked off type show, given that it was a large outdoor festival with a mixed fan base. But the band was in fine form, ripped through several new songs, and seemed to be having a really good time. It made me wish for the chance to see them headline their own show, in front of an audience that was there to see them only.

I got a new camera recently, so here are some more pics.

The view looking backwards. I was trying to get a feel for how deep the crowd went....there were easily thousands watching the Steady. The total attendance for the day was in the 15,000-17,000 range. It was an accident, but I love that the church figures so prominently in this pic, and in what Craig saw when he looked out from the stage.

Bassist Galen Polivka and Craig Finn.

A good approximation of where I was in the crowd, sans zoom, taken early in the set. From left to right: Franz on keys, Galen on bass, Bobby on drums, Craig on his new guitar with the Grateful Dead bear sticker, Koob on the Gibson.

I didn't keep a set list, because it would have been impossible. I figured some die-hard fan would have posted one shortly after the show ended....after all, the NON-Comm audio appeared online before the was over, and that's a lot harder than jotting down song titles. But some of the stuff they played, in a not quite approximate order:

No, not that one either. (Couldn't resist.)

Constructive Summer
Hot Soft Light
Chips Ahoy
Lord I'm Discouraged
Navy Sheets
a couple other songs I didn't recognize, surely off the new record that I unbelievably haven't listened to yet
Massive Nights
Stay Positive
The Swish
Enc: Killer Parties

That's right...the second to last band at a festival got an encore.

One thing that was a little disappointing was no "Stuck Between Stations." The double-barreled intro of "Constructive Summer" leading into "Hot Soft Light" is cool to hear, but I think the old standby of track 1 of the two most recent records would be a great 1-2 punch to open a show.

Allright everyone. Stay Positive and enjoy the rest of your summer. ("This Summer!")


83F said...

(1) Batman - I'm with you. But I'm not one for a comic-books-now-movies movie.
(2) Sadly ESPN has been proudly following the Wild Card Race since pre-Independence Day.
(3) Mort watches the NBA. And you know that.
(4) I don't like talking about bad shit, but I have this really ugly gut-feeling that something not-good is going to happen during this Olympics. I pray it doesn't.
(5) Why isn't golf an Olympic medal sport? Seriously.

mpf004 said...


or tug of war!!! (see newest post).