Monday, June 15, 2009

On Not Going to Bonnaroo and the Redemptive Qualities of the Hold Steady

This past weekend I was supposed to be at Bonnaroo. I had a ticket, had a flight booked and had all my stuff ready to go. Then I looked at the weather for the weekend and had a massive anxiety attack. The threat of being stuck in just a tent with the threat of severe thunderstorms did me in. So, in a nutshell, instead of enjoying the relatively nice weekend in Tennessee, I threw away a couple of hundred dollars over basically nothing.

The whole weekend wasn't lost however, as the Hold Steady came to Ithaca last night. One of the only regrets I had about going to Bonnaroo was that I was going to miss this show. I'm kind of glad things worked out the way they did because seeing the Hold Steady in a small, intimate venue is one of the great concert experiences I've ever had. This is a band that is meant to be seen in a cramped, sweaty space with as many people as possible crammed into the place. Simply put, it was a great show. Both times I have seem them, there's no lack of enthusiasm in what The Hold Steady does and it clearly rubs off on the audience. It was rowdy, there was a lot of beer, a lot of fist pumping, a lot of singing along: all what a great rock & roll show should do. While the Hold Steady may not be the most popular band out there, I'm hard pressed to find a band that has such a intense, die hard following among the people that really care about them. They're a band with no real middle ground, either you really love them or you don't care for them. And from I saw in Ithaca, just about everybody there was there because they really love the music and not just there because a somewhat well-known band was in town.

There are certain groups or bands that make you believe that rock & roll means something more than just simple entertainment. For me, The Hold Steady is band that is all in and believe in what they do, that maybe rock & roll can save your soul. I want to thank them for making my weekend.

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