Friday, September 19, 2008

Live: Hold Steady @ Artist's Den Live 9.18.8

It's always the way. Nothing goes on and then everything jumps off on the same night. Internet scuttlebutt brought to light that the mighty Hold Steady were doing some taping for The Artist's Den. It was sponsored by Grey Goose, theoretically free, and would probably feature a gang of the Unified Scene kids. This I would call a good time. Of course, it was on the same night as a work function and the Opeth show at Nokia. We'll get to that. So, as regards the Hold Steady I never heard back from the Artist's Den, prompting a spate of Internet and message board grovelling. I managed to get the address for the taping and figured I'd just bum rush the proverbial show and bamboozle them with name-drops of magazine and industry connects. As five o'clock rolled around, I recieved a mysterious e-mail instructing me to report to a location near to the venue where emissaries of our heroes would get me/us in.

Shockingly enough, that didn't happen. I arrived to a ridiculous line and a bunch of embarassed US kids who had passed on the info, yet still had guest list. The enigmatic John Cake had scored a plus one from someone on line and was kind enough to pass on his sign. Someone must have been looking out for me, as I managed to hook up with some guest list via my new friend Shawn and get inside in short order. Maybe I've not mentioned that the venue was an old bank across from City Hall? While it looked beautful, it was hardly an acoustical dream. Add slippery floors and all you can drink vodka and you've got an accident waiting for happen. For better or worse, a bizarre funnelling incident was instrumental in my never wanting to drink vodka unless the woman is exceedingly hot. While there were options in that regard, I decided that discretion might be the better part of valor this time around. Said hello to the US kids and at nine sharp the boys sallied forth and set to rocking.

I'm no front of house guy, and the Hold Steady have some of the best guys around backing them up, but rock music is not optmized for high-ceilinged old banks comprised entirely of marble. There was more bounce to the ounce in that room than a Zapp and Roger show, and the sound more than suffered for it. A decent set, but with jack-ass crowd-riders and camera booms flying overhead, plus the odd unplugged microphone, the show wasn't one of their best. Better than most bands, but not the best Hold Steady show. I bailed at the last songs to go see Opeth at Nokia. Look out for the commemoration of that awesomeness coming up soon.

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