On Mar. 5, The Hold Steady performed the first show of their fourth annual Weekender run, which typically takes place in the UK. But this year, it wasn’t at London’s Electric Ballroom; it was live-streamed from New York’s Brooklyn Bowl, as the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented the band from flying overseas. The two-date weekender is being broadcast on fans.live, and follows the band’s Mar. 4 release show for their new album, Open Door Policy. To cater the show to the UK fanbase, it began at 3 p.m. ET (which is 8 p.m. GMT).
The band gave a grandiose introduction to their set with “The Feelers,” the opening track from Open Door Policy, before exploding into the high-energy punk vibes of “Constructive Summer.” Moving forward with “Magazines,” it became clear that The Hold Steady’s performance prowess has remained unhindered by the ongoing pandemic. Craig Finn’s commanding stage presence underscored the emotional aspects of the tune; his on-stage movement highlighting his feel for the song, as if he were feeding off the energy of an in-person crowd.
The show pushed forward with “Hurricane J” and “Stevie Nix,” with Finn giving a brief moment to highlight the annual Weekender’s first (and hopefully sole) virtual edition before diving into “Multitude of Casualties.” Finn then invited the horn section, otherwise known as ‘The Horn Steady’ and made up of Jordan McLean, Stuart Bogie and Peter Hess, on stage before going into “Spices,” the first single from Open Door Policy. The band then entered a chill, synth-heavy transitionary interlude before going into the catchy “Sequestered in Memphis” and “T-Shirt Tux.”
After a rambunctious performance of “Cattle and the Creeping Things,” the band broke into “First Night” and “Party Pit” back to back; the classic Boys and Girls in America tracks showcased the band’s excellence in harmonizing, which surely had fans singing along from their living rooms. Lead guitarist Tad Kubler elevated the virtual crowd’s hype with his face-melting solo during “On with the Business.” The band moved forward with “Our Whole Lives” and “Heavy Covenant,” with more soul-pumping guitarmonies (guitar harmonies) and saxophone action during “Blackout Sam” and “Banging Camp.”
The Hold Steady wound down into the end of their set with “Entitlement Crew” and “Your Little Hoodrat Friend,” which saw some more of Finn’s grand stage presence. They gave a wondrous performance of the Boys and Girls in America classic “Southtown Girls,” in which guitarist Steve Selvidge ripped a wicked solo succeeded by some soulful harmonica from keyboardist Franz Nicolay. The set closed out with “How a Resurrection Really Feels,” consisting of a big finish complete with another healthy dose of shredding from Kubler, and Finn calling on fans to “stay positive.”
As fitting an end that was, The Hold Steady wasn’t quite finished; the three-song encore blasted out of the gate with the fan-favorite singles “Stuck Between Stations” and “Chips Ahoy!” The band expressed their gratitude towards the Brooklyn Bowl for hosting the event before going into the final song of the night: “Confusion in the Marketplace.” The number ended with Finn’s impassioned yet melodic chanting of the line, “We are all.. The Hold Steady,” intending to unify the virtual crowd of dedicated fans, who logged on from around the world to show their support and enjoy some live music; something they’ll hopefully be able to do in person at next year’s Hold Steady Weekender run.
The Hold Steady’s The Weekender run continues this afternoon at 3 p.m. ET. To purchase tickets, click here.
Check out the full setlist from last night below!
The Hold Steady
March 6, 2021
The Weekender, Brooklyn Bowl, N.Y.
Set: The Feelers, Constructive, Magazines, Hurricane J, Stevie Nix, Multitude, Spices, Sequestered in Memphis, T Shirt Tux, Cattle and the Creeping Things, First Night, Party Pit, On With the Business, Our Whole Lives, Heavy Covenant, Banging Camp, Entitlement Crew, Your Little Hoodrat Friend, Southtown Girls, How a Resurrection Really Feels
Enc: Stuck Between Stations, Chips Ahoy!, Confusion in the Marketplace