The last time I saw The Hold Steady (which was also my first-ever time seeing them), I gushed afterwards about the show and their music in general. Everything that I said then still stands. The band was in high spirits, despite a year of touring incessantly in support of Boys and Girls In America. In fact, one gets the feeling that touring actually keeps these guys in high spirits. Or maybe it was their tour mates in Art Brut goofing off onstage. Whatever it was, everyone in the band seemed a little more playful than the last time I saw them.
Galen (the bassist) was probably the goofiest of all, hamming it up for my camera the entire set. At one point, Franz was fixing his sock, which was held up with sock suspenders (or whatever you call them), and Galen pointed it out to me. I tried taking a photo, but that one didn’t turn out. Even the drummer, who’s usually the most taciturn of the bunch (if you can call any of the members taciturn), was laughing and kidding around – at one point where Craig was talking to the crowd, he was making the universal sign for “too much talk-ey talk-ey,” which Galen and Franz later picked up on.
Craig was in quite a jovial mood. He’s shaved his beard since the last time I saw them, and it was somewhat hilarious to see him get ID’d on his way back into Cane’s as British Joe and I were arriving at the show. Apparently saying “I’m the lead singer of the headlining band” isn’t enough to get you past security at Canes – although that being said, that was the worst security issue they had the whole evening. Everything was much more relaxed then when I saw the Justice show a couple weeks back, which Tim Pyles attributed to the bands when I asked him about it after the show. But I digress.
The Hold Steady is a band that loves San Diego, for one reason or another. And they showed us that love by debuting two new songs for us – “Sequestered in Memphis” and “One Townie Falls.” The also played new songs “Creepy” and “Lord I’m Discouraged,” which had been debuted at previous shows, as well as the universally favorite, but seldom played live, “Chillout Tent.” Some female vocals would have been nice on the track, but the boys can only work with what they’ve got, and no one was really complaining.
At one point Craig mentioned that a friend of his from childhood that he met the day after he moved from Boston to Minneapolis was in the crowd at the show, which may have contributed to his high spirits. He also pointed out a couple at the front of the crowd, who had been at their past three shows, and dedicated the song “Citrus” to them. Other standouts were “Party Pit” and “Southtown Girls,” although they didn’t neglect songs from their previous albums. Greg nabbed their setlist for his post over at SD:Dialed In. They ended their encore with the usual “Killer Parties,” and people flooded the stage to join in on the fun, which is something that didn’t happen the last time I saw them.
It was quite a sight to behold, and I was sad to see the night end. So sad, in fact, that I prolonged it myself by heading to the Ken Club just in time to see Swim Party packing up their equipment and to wish Rosey a happy 1-year Blogiversary.