The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
TUL's Take: Art Brut/The Hold Steady @ 9:30 Club

Yes I know this show was over a week ago but I completely forgot to write it, so better late than never eh? I arrived midway through The 1990s performance and I ended up digging their sound. I always enjoy moments like these where I come away pleasantly surprised by an opener I had previously never heard of. Even though lead singer Jackie McCowan looks like one of the faces featured in The Big British Book of Smiles, the band delivered during its brief opening set to a room that was slowly beginning to fill up in anticipation for Art Brut.

Art Brut came on a little after 9 much to the excitement of perhaps me and 20 other people. Seriously, the majority of the audience was virtually unresponsive during the band's set and really detracted from an otherwise solid performance. I even noticed Freddie Feedback appear a bit bewildered in regards to the crowd's tame nature during "Good Weekend" and several other high-energy songs. Their show at Bumbershoot was immensely better due to combination of the enthusiasm from the Seattle crowd and the band simply being more into it in comparison to last week's effort. I just don't understand, was everyone there just to see The Hold Steady or something? All and all it was good but fell short of my expectations.

This brings us to The Hold Steady. First off, thanks in part to DC101's promotion of the show, the amount of douchebags in attendance was exceedingly high. I guess my asshole homing signal was in full effect from where I was standing as not one but two morons near me were appropriately tossed out due to their drunken obnoxiousness and apparent lack of just even the smallest of IQs. I would like to especially commend one member of the security staff for bear-hugging one of these idiots and rapidly dragging him out of the room much to the delight of the area I and others affected (by, among many things, his failed crowd-surfing attempts) were situated. You performed a great service and made the rest of the show that much more enjoyable because of your efforts.

Wow, did I go off-tangent there or what? Sorry, but out of the now four times I've seen THS, I've never witnessed so much douchebaggery from a crowd. Anyway, as expected, Craig Finn & Co. delivered another rousing set to the audience who had woken up from their slumber (evidently taken during Art Brut's set). Their finale of "Killer Parties" was noteworthy not only because Tad Kubler ended up performing guitar atop the PA speaker stack (which was pretty awesome) but I also had a fun time watching security remove the kids who boldly decided to jump onstage during the closing number. Silly fans, don't they know this isn't Valentines? Speaking of which, the shows I saw there were much better just for the fact that the band performed in a shithole of a venue in Albany which ultimately added to the overall experience of seeing The Hold Steady live. Don't get me wrong, they were successfully able to translate their sound into a much bigger venue, I just had more fun seeing them in a much more intimate one which featured one of the worst bathrooms I've ever stepped foot in. Pictures:

Enjoying a Genesee at Duffy's before the show:

Art Brut:

The Hold Steady:

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