Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Halloween/Hold Steady/Cinemachanica/STNNNG

The Hold Steady played in the First-Avenue Mainroom last Tuesday and changed the world. First off, they sold out the Mainroom - which is a big deal - but it was also just the first of two shows, which makes it that much more impressive. Craig Finn is absolutely one of the most - if not the most - charismatic frontmen currently active.

The audience was completely captivated throughout, hanging on every word. The last time I saw the Hold Steady was at CBGBs last September at CMJ, so I was very impressed with the rapid improvement of their live show. I'm not saying that they were ever bad live, they were just completely on that night.

I can only imagine what will happen next with the Hold Steady. At times, I debate whether or not Finn and Co. will be able to top Boys and Girls, but I thought that after Separation Sunday.

Jon Graef wrote a great review of the Metro/Chicago version of the show in our show reviews page, check it out.

I also received a few cool records in the mail that I am looking forward to reviewing. Namely, the new STNNNG record from Modern Radio seems to kick ass. I'm a bit nervous that it's not going to live up to the expectations Dignified Sissy garnered, but I can't wait to listen. I also picked up the Cinemachanica and Ho-Ag records, so I'll be running something on them soon.

Early this week, I will be putting up a feature on the Awesome Snakes, a review of the new Bridge Club album and a few other tokens of musical hipness.

Lastly, earlier this week, Ross Raihala from the Pioneer Press wrote to me asking about my worst Halloween memory. After sending it off to him, I thought it was so funny I figured it was worth posting here.

"When I was a kid, say, eight or nine, I was that chubby kid in class that was obsessed with the Minnesota Twins; specifically Kirby Puckett - I have over 500 Kirby Puckett baseball cards, honest. As a result of my passion for Puckett, I dressed up as ol' #34 for Halloween for like five years in a row starting at age four. It was great, I loved it. I wore the pinstripes and everything. However, on the fifth year, I was made fun of by a group of neighborhood kids because I was a chubby white kid and, well, Kirby wasn't. Honestly, this hadn't occured to me until that exact moment and I lost control. I started crying and shouting things like "'The Love of the Game' was the best book I ever read!" and "Kirby wouldn't care what I look like 'caue he's from the Southside!" and so on. But those kids were so mean, that they pushed me over and took my candy laughing as mean Halloween kids do. But they didn't take just my candy, Ross, they took my dream of playing centerfield for the Twins. And that was my worst Halloween ever."

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