The Hold Steady @ Great American Music Hall, 07.21.14


The Hold Steady played a sold-out show at Great American Music Hall on July 21st. The Brooklyn band are supporting their most recent record, Teeth Dreams, but didn’t skimp on the old hits like “Your Little Hoodrat Friend,” “Stay Positive” and “Hot Soft Light.” Overall, it was a loud, frenetic, sweaty set., and few people in the crowd seemed disappointed.

Before playing “Constructive Summer” from 2008’s Stay Positive, singer Craig Finn mentioned that his first stage dive ever was as a teenager at a show in his native Minnesota, to the song “Celebrated Summer.” He didn’t name the band, but many in the crowd knew the song by fellow Twin City-ers Husker Dü. Eagle-eyed fans also spotted Bob Mould himself in attendance.

Alas, the only crowd surfer of the night was a bespectacled middle aged dude, who kind of just lowered himself into the audience. On is second attempt, he was dragged off the stage.



The Both @ Great American Music Hall, 06.12.14


Aimee Mann and Ted Leo brought their new collaboration project The Both back to San Francisco, where they’d played their first shows as a band last year, on June 12. Mann and Leo clearly have a pretty solid friendship and working relationship, as evidenced by the breadth and frequency of their stage banter, which took up more time than the actual songs. They played about 4 songs in the first 40 minutes of the show, between stories about backstage graffiti, talking out hypotheticals of Gallagher-brotheresque meltdowns, and Mann’s uncomfortableness at Charmin’s new marketing slogan, “Enjoy the Go.”

As far as the songs, the collaboration seems to be working quite well, and was mostly evident when The Both played Aimee Mann and Ted Leo songs. Leo provided decidedly un-Ted Leo-esque backing harmonies and solos to Mann’s “Save Me,” while Mann’s presence took some of the rougher edges off of Leo’s “Bottled in Cork.”

Nick Diamonds of Islands opened up the show, to a fairly enthusiastic and filled-out crowd.