The Hold Steady in Savannah: “Everybody’s invited to this party”
(The Guide, 5/20/10) Brooklyn-based rock outfit the Hold Steady has been fitted with the title of “America’s bar band,” thanks mostly to their raucous, salutatory guitar jams, which are evocative both of the epic narrative arcs of Bruce Springsteen and the simple rock fundamentalism of Thin Lizzy.
But the title is slightly inaccurate for several reasons. First, the band these days is too much of a big deal to be stuck playing the grimy pubs evoked by their music. But mostly they just don’t spend that much time in bars anymore, since some of its members, such as guitarist Tad Kubler, now have young children (even if his 5-year-old daughter does like to come on tour occasionally).
The Hold Steady earlier this month released its fifth studio album, “Heaven is Whenever.” It’s a payoff of sorts, one that hits on the themes of reward and struggle — something the band sees firsthand as gets lauded by indie sites like Pitchfork while seeing its albums on the featured rack at Target.
“I think that the one thing that we strive for and really enjoy is to become a bigger band,” Kubler said by phone last week. “I always felt that we’re very inclusive. Everybody’s invited to this party. I think people are quick to write us off as cool kids or hipsters or whatever people refer to people who live in Brooklyn as. That’s the opposite of what we’re about.”
The Hold Steady, Twin Tigers
When: 9 p.m. May 25
Where: Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St., Savannah
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
Information: 912-233-1192, livewiremusichall.com
The Hold Steady’s songs are densely packed with literate lyrics and a cinematic scope, telling the challenges of young people in America and unrequited emotion. Kubler said “Heaven” represents some maturation for the band and its ability to find synergy between lead singer Craig Finn’s lyrics and Kubler’s music.
“If there’s any theme for me its that we’re just kind of growing as a band,” he said. “This record shows more than any of our previous record shows the music and the lyrics coming together and being singular more than any other. “
The band’s appearance at the Live Wire Music Hall in Savannah on Tuesday will be its first in the area — and a cozy fit for a band used to headlining festival stages and major venues. But Kubler said such smaller shows help remind the band how they got successful in the first place.
“People ask you what are your favorite shows. It’d be easy to say L.A., New York or Chicago or a major market like that,” he said. “But to be able to get a few hundred people out and even in some of the smaller clubs, it seems like a real testament to where we are as a band.”