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Monday, November 5, 2007

Don’t Ask Me How the Hold Steady Show Was Because I Didn’t Get to See the Hold Steady Show

posted by on November 5 at 9:40 AM


The UW campus makes no sense unless you are or were a student. I am not, I never was. For 45 minutes last night I wandered its paths, looking for the Husky Union Building (HUB) where the Hold Steady and Art Brut were scheduled to play. I got to the campus late, I was in a hurry, and I really, really didn’t want to miss the show, but I had no idea where to go. I asked a couple people where it was, but one gave really confusing directions that just got me more lost and another (must’ve been a freshman) didn’t know where it was.


I finally found a soccer team of boys who knew the way—it was all the way on the other side of the campus.


10 minutes later I eventually made it to the HUB. I made it to the HUB just in time to see the college students drizzle out of the building and walk away saying things like “I love bands like that!” and “That was so much fun!’

“Is the Hold Steady show over?” I asked a trio of dudes.

“The Hold Steady show is over,” they confirmed.


I went inside anyway. I walked past the really happy singer of Art Brut as he carried out the last of the band’s equipment, and I bought a t-shirt from the merch guy who was starting to pack up for the evening.

Then I stared at the empty room for a minute.

I bet it was the best Hold Steady show ever in the history of all Hold Steady shows that ever existed ever. I bet they opened with “Massive Nights,” I bet they played “Chips Ahoy” and “Stuck Between Stations.” I bet they played “Southtown Girls” and “Citrus” and I bet they played a perfect version of “First Night” and brought out a baby grand piano and maybe even Elton John discreetly came out to take the piano parts.

I bet Craig Finn had witty things to say to the audience between songs, and I bet the audience was full of girls wearing colorful plastic bead necklaces and boys wearing glasses and sweaters who danced hard and sang loud and loved every second of it just like I know I would have.

I bet Finn’s old Lifter Puller bandmates came out to play a few tracks, I bet they played “Space Humping $19.99,” and I bet when the Hold Steady came out for an encore (because I bet they were called back for an encore) they had confetti cannons and a balloon drop and pyrotechnics that would make Van Halen jealous. And I bet as everyone left, they were handed a potty-trained Golden Retriever puppy with a big red bow around his neck.

I bet, I bet, I bet.

But I’ll never know. Because I went to the Hold Steady show and all I got was a lousy t-shirt with a mustache on it.

RSS icon Comments


Well, after arriving at 9:00 to see Art Brut and arriving 1/3 of the way through Hold Steady's set I think I've finally learned the lesson I should have learned a few weeks ago at LCD Soundsystem / Arcade Fire / "oh, the Gossip played?" show at Hec Ed: the UW is not a club! They have no incentive to have people arrive hours before the band starts because they're not selling them drinks! Like the Paramount or The Moore or Benaroya, and unlike the Croc or Showbox, etc. the time on the ticket ACTUALLY MEANS THE TIME THE SHOW STARTS!
Oh, and the Hold Steady? Boring-ass one-trick ponies with one decent song and no hooks. (But that's just me: the only Springsteen sound-alike I can stand is Springsteen).

Posted by Major Tom | November 5, 2007 10:12 AM

Ha Ha!

Posted by Ryan Red | November 5, 2007 10:13 AM

Ha! Good thing I got there early because I was totally friggin' lost too! And I had directions and everything. The UW, like all big urban universities, is an anthill of buildings, drives and paths going every which way. Eventually locating the HUB was tough enough; finding parking was even tougher.

And yeah, it sure was an early show! Doors were supposedly at 6, show at 7, but the first band (Blood Arm?) were playing their last song when I walked in at 7:15. That plus quick turnover between sets and an apparent shortage of booze backstage meant that the whole thing was over at like 10:00.

Anyway, The Hold Steady were decent. Finn's singing is like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello, and Kubler's no slouch on guitar.

Actually though, I thought Art Brut was the more enjoyable band; their singer Eddie Argos really drew in the crowd with over the top stage banter (after berating the venue for the lack of booze and some technical mishaps, including a microphone that went sailing off into the crowd). "Man, it's a lot more tiring doing this stuff sober!"

Posted by rkpetersen | November 5, 2007 1:34 PM

And yeah, the Hold Steady played most everything you mentioned, Megan. The 'light show', though, was just a few cans with colored cellophane and chicken wire, and yet they still nearly set the stage on fire with them. "Um, that monitor there actually IS smoking." And unfortunately, no free puppies.

Posted by rkpetersen | November 5, 2007 1:43 PM

Craig Finn could give a headache to a bottle of aspirin. Too...many...words....

Posted by mikenessss | November 5, 2007 2:53 PM

Only problem is that the time on my ticket said 7pm and the first opening act went on at 6:30 or so and was done by 7:15. Just give people clear information about who is playing when and no one will have an issue.

Posted by hubislame | November 5, 2007 3:45 PM

UW has maps everywhere. Try preparing for once. Oh, wait, you write for The Stranger. Sorry, I had you confused with a real music journalist.

Posted by Pablo | November 5, 2007 4:55 PM

The Pitchfork crew always use GPS to make sure they don't miss a show. They're *real* music journalists.

Posted by gopitchfork | November 5, 2007 5:00 PM

GPS didn't help me; the U is like a big blind spot.

Posted by fk p4k | November 5, 2007 7:50 PM

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