Uncut Editor's Diary

Another massive night for The Hold Steady

Allan Jones

I knew I was heading for trouble at last night’s Hold Steady show at Camden’s Electric Ballroom when I realised that I was so excited by what I was listening to that I was knocking back a pint per song – which meant by rough reckoning that I was soon going to be either behaving outrageously or completely unconscious, unless one of us slowed down.

Since the songs at this point are coming thick and fast, one crashing in as the one before it crashes out, and The Hold Steady are gaining greater velocity by what seems the minute, it’s unlikely anything short of the stage catching fire and collapsing beneath them will put anything like a halt to the kind of momentum they’re quickly building up.

So I guess if I don’t want to end up soon face down on the floor, people stepping over me, on their way to the bar, I’d better cool it for moment, which is a tough call in the circumstances, because when they’re going at full blast like they are tonight, there’s something about The Hold Steady that encourages all kinds of letting go, in much the same way, it strikes me, as seeing The Faces years ago would always be like being at the wildest sort of party, rowdiness and a fucking great time absolutely guaranteed.

The Hold Steady have become such a fixture of the Uncut landscape since we made Boys And Girls In America our album of the month that people might think we have shares in them, which we don’t. We’re just fans, as inspired as everyone else who’s here by what they do, which is play smart, brilliant, loud, exciting rock’n’roll.

Tonight they seem to play just about everything from Boys And Girls In America, and by the general consensus of fans I speak to on the way out may never have played some of these songs so well – everything they do seems just about perfect, their performance honed to a point of breathtaking excellence by month after month on the road, gig after gig in club after club, and over the summer festival after festival.

Highlights then are many, and everything fuelled by a reckless euphoria – “Hot Soft Light”, “Party Pit”, “Stuck Between Stations”, “Southtown Girls”, a fantastic “Chillout Tent”, a sensational blast of “Positive Jam”, the opening track from their first album, and of course “Killer Parties”.

Brilliant, brilliant stuff


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