The Hold Steady, Donkeys 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Soundboard

When: Thu., Aug. 25, 9 p.m. 2011

Naysayers complain that the Hold Steady only has two songs. The thing is, many of the band's fans would probably agree—there's the chunky, riffy bar-band burner and the sweeping, expansive piano-heavy ballad (a la "Born to Run"), both dealing with young counterculture types whose brains are addled by drugs and/or love and/or religion. The difference between the two camps is that those who adore the group find the Hold Steady's continual revision to be fascinating, comforting, or even (maybe) meditative. The endless rant of front man Craig Finn spans five albums (so far) and has come to look like a sprawling, experimental Great American Novel, one that requires the repetition of musical and lyrical themes to keep the whole thing from collapsing under its own weight. On last year's Heaven Is Whenever (Vagrant) they dial down the 70s cock rock in favor of the muscular alternative rock of the members' native Minneapolis. Finn recently recorded his first solo album, and the Hold Steady will begin working on their sixth LP this fall, so expect a few new burners and ballads tonight. —Miles Raymer Donkeys open.

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