Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why we should keep faith with The Hold Steady despite two disappointing Scottish appearances...

When I saw the band play The Garage in Glasgow early in the year I thought they were stupendous - better-than-Springsteen wordplay beefed up through ZZ Top and Lizzy riffing. Then, having moved heaven and earth to catch them at both T in the Park and Connect, they managed to turn up late for both, doing a short acoustic set at T and a dishevelled, lackadaisical one at Connect. However, with everything to play for on Jools Holland, they really delivered on Stuck Between Stations, showing the Arctic Monkeys, also on the show, just why a ginormous Billy Gibbons guitar sound hammers Telecaster scratchiness any day of the week.

Will they haul themselves beyond that 'best bar band in the world' tag? Not, in my opinion, if they continue to do 300 gigs a year, mostly in dodgy American roadhouses. In the end, unless a movie soundtrack or something (possibly European success)lifts them up a live league, they're too intelligent to put up with the torpor and tedium of that kind of touring lifestyle. Or the drink will get them.

Meanwhile, we await the next album with considerable interest. There's a new song '212 Margarita' lurking online in various acoustic formats. It's good.

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