There were couples and there were nerds. Guys in trucker hats and girls in skirts. Men pushing 40 with beards and flannel, one who looked like Jimmy Chamberlin and a kid with frosted tips and an alt rock sweat band on his wrist.
It was the exact cross section of Middle America spoken about in much of The Hold Steady’s lyrics, proving that their themes can apply to anytown USA. Even under our noses, and even in Hartford.
The Hold Steady blasted into their twenty-plus song set full of the trials and tribulations of youth with some favorites like “Sequestered In Memphis,” “Chips Ahoy,” and a three song encore including “Stay Positive.”
The energy was electric before frontman Craig Finn said a word, but he amplified it through calls into the crowd and an incredulous eye. It was as though his tales were epic recountings of legendary proportions.
Those tales of misspent youth and kids screwing up certainly did go big through the audience, who skewed to the slightly older side. Perhaps it’s that age and maturity allow people to appreciate the blue collar teenage underbelly that Finn tells of so well.
Finn quipped at one point that rock and roll is full of lies. Thursday night was truth.
Openers Mount Carmel lifted off the show with blues rock twang and building slow southern jams, while Fang Island’s dueling threesome of guitars jigsawed against each other through broken strings and riffage.
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