Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Hold Steady almost kills me in Northampton

I think I mentioned that I went to see the Hold Steady last week in Northampton, really fantastic show and kind of a surprise, since I’ve been a little bit off the Hold Steady since Separation Sunday.

It seems to me that the Hold Steady have sacrificed the difficulty and complexity of their earlier records for the more anthemic, crowd-pleasing sound of their live show. But while this may prevent them from ever making another album as brilliant as Separation Sunday, it does make their performances pretty riveting. Anyway, here’s the review.

I gave it nine stars, which is something I hardly ever do.

There are some pretty wonderful photos by Oliver Scott Snure, too.


Jean-Luc Garbo said...

Great review! I forgot that I had Separation Sunday until this reminded me.

jenniferpkelly said...

Great record. I think the first one is still my favorite, though I can see how Separation Sunday might be conceptually superior to it.

Jean-Luc Garbo said...

How does an album get points for being conceptually superior?

jenniferpkelly said...

Eesh, that does sound pretty pretentious now that I look at it.

What I meant is that there are 4-5 songs on Almost Killed me that I love to death and that, viscerally, make it my favorite. However, Separation Sunday seems like a more impressive album in the way that it follows three characters through an almost rock opera arc of development, and also the language is pretty great, especially all the biblical verses. So I like Almost Killed Me with my heart and Separation Sunday with my brain, if that makes sense.

Jean-Luc Garbo said...

I see what you mean now. That makes sense. I'm glad I read your live review because now I'm wondering why I stopped listening to HS. I don't know whether to blame it on listening to Okkervil River or on reading more Pitchfork! Then again, the singles since Hoodrat Friend haven't impressed me as much either.

jenniferpkelly said...

My feeling is, whenever you have a chance to blame something on Pitchfork, go for it!