You’ll probably all be grateful that it took me a month to get around to reviewing this show, because at the time, probably all I could have managed would have been a lot of capslock and incoherent sputtering and superlatives.

And yes, this show deserved all that and more. Shows, plural, actually; they played two consecutive nights. This tour has the bands as co-headliners, meaning that they alternate being the closing band. Originally we had tickets for Friday night, and then I found out that The Hold Steady would be closing on Thursday, so I decided to go that night as well. Yep, I’m pretty far gone for these guys.

It was so worth it. Thursday’s show was all-ages, much less crowded than Friday, and the main floor was divided in half with the all-ages crowd in front. 

Details from both nights, and photos after the cut…


We hung out in the main floor’s 21+ area during Drive-By Truckers, who are basically just OK for me. When The Hold Steady started, we went up front and got pretty close to the stage.

The tour being called “Rock and Roll Means Well”, they focused on their most energetic and hard driving songs. Not that they have lots of tracks that don’t fit that description! I’ve seen them at least 4 times prior to these shows, and they always rock my face off :-)

Thursday they opened with “Constructive Summer” (or was it “Stay Positive”?) and proceeded to play just about every single song I wanted to hear with the exception of “Most People are DJs” and “You Can Make Him Like You”.

DBT joined them on-stage for most of the encore, and the bands rocked out together to ridiculously awesome degrees. There were covers of what were clearly classics of classic rock that I didn’t know. And as I expected, they closed with “Killer Parties”.

“Killer parties almost killed me…”

There’s just so much joy and energy and love and ROCK in a Hold Steady show. All in all, Thursday’s is in the running for my live show of the year.


Friday was much more crowded. It was impossible to get anywhere near the stage. Which, considering how huge Showbox SoDo is, sucked. I’m horrible at estimating crowd size or venue capacity, so I looked it up, and it says the capacity is 1511. Feels 3x bigger than that though, I swear. And while I’m excited for the band that they can draw such big crowds, I prefer the intimacy of smaller venues and being close to the stage.

So, Friday we mostly watched from the back corner of the bar area that’s adjacent to the main floor, as you can maybe infer from this rather dark picture.

The Hold Steady was great again, of course, and they did play “You Can Make Him Like You” — one song I felt was missing for me the previous night. But the loss of intimacy was sad. As with the previous night, the two bands played together for most of the encore. But unlike the previous night of course, the final song was a DBT song instead of a THS song. I knew “Killer Parties” would be Thursday–only and I feel lucky that it was on the less-crowded night when we could get up close.