Friday, May 25, 2007

We Had Some Massive Nights

The Urban Lounge is a little hipster bar in SLC. It's small and dark and smokey, and the perfect venue for a band like The Hold Steady, who played there last night.
The opening band was The Heartless Bastards, a indie-blues-garage band from Cincinnati, fronted by Erika Winnerstrom, whose voice was as sullen as Beth Orton and as gravelly and commanding as Patti Smith. Their songs had simple melodies that really stuck, and I was a little disappointed they only played for an hour.

The Hold Steady
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
The Hold Steady are one of those bands that are really amazing, but since they don't get any play on the radio, then nobody really knows about them. They're from Brooklyn and play alt-bar rock that's reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen or The Afghan Whigs. That's not normally my type of music, but what sets apart The Hold Steady are their superb lyrics, telling stories of relationships and alcohol. Combine that with catchy melodies and driving guitars, and it's a formula for an album that ended up on several "Best of 2006" lists last year.
The only drawback about shows at The Urban Lounge is that they start so late. The Heartless Bastards didn't take the stage until 10, so it was after 11 by the time The Hold Steady came out. It's not so bad on the weekends, but when you have to work the next day, it's draining. However, I was so into the show I didn't care at all. Craig Finn's voice is very distinct and on stage, he's very animated, which is odd considering how the music is so laid back. You can feel his pain when he sings, "I've had kisses that make Judas seem sincere," and you know he means it. The entire band had a great vibe, and I feel lucky to have gotten to see both bands in such a small venue.

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