I always say I really like the Hold Steady but don’t think of them as my favorite band. But then I talk about them, and it’s pretty obvious that I love them. And then I read this interview from when their 2006 record was released and I know it’s true. Maybe it’s because I don’t necessarily relate to the stories in their songs. But having read the interview, I think it’s because of the music and the philosophy behind the music. Everything Mr. Finn says is so practical, it makes sense, and it’s very open-minded. Also he’s in 30s. He’s an artist, he loves what he does, but never is he snobby about it, even though he name-drops John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. (He also drops Ghostface, Miles Davis, and the Dead Kennedys, but maybe he’s using them as examples of diversity rather than his own tastes.) I won’t point out each detail, read every word. That’s why I like them.
Anyway, I’m going to a second show of theirs in a year in a couple of weeks. It stinks because just last time, no can/wants to come with me. Last year I said “I know you don’t listen to them, but I know you’ll have the best time of your life.” Then I actually saw them, and they lived up to the hype by the third song. Now that my sentiments are predicated on reality, I REALLY wish someone could come with, but oh well, I’ll still have a good time. I feel bad that the tickets are only $15, I feel like I’m ripping them off for the show they put on. Maybe I’ll buy some more merch.
I still listen to as much other music, but they fill a very necessary void. Good, fun, well-written and -performed rock made by people who piss all over the pursuit of cool. No “indieness”, no navelgazing, no artsy-fartsy, no “emotional” singing or screaming, no incompetence— seriously, without hyperbole, THIS is what joy is. The fact that it’s made by middle-aged guys rather than young whippersnappers is all the more wonderful and awe-inspiring.
That’s why I put them as my myspace song again.