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The Hold Steady / Chin Up Chin Up / Sybris

The Hold Steady / Chin Up Chin Up / Sybris: live in Chicagolive in Chicago (2007)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Living in Iowa isn't as bad as you'd think. We have blue skies, friendly people, a great education system, and some of the lowest gas prices in the country. And on top of that, Chicago is a mere six hours away! Having missed out on getting tickets to the sold out Alkaline Trio / Smoking Popes New Ye.


Living in Iowa isn't as bad as you'd think. We have blue skies, friendly people, a great education system, and some of the lowest gas prices in the country. And on top of that, Chicago is a mere six hours away! Having missed out on getting tickets to the sold out Alkaline Trio / Smoking Popes New Year's Eve show at The Metro, I saw that the Hold Steady was playing two nights in a row at the House of Blues, and for 30 dollars cheaper on New Year's Day. Six hours for one band may seem obscene...but come on, it's the Hold Steady!

So after a raucous New Year's Eve with little sleep, my girlfriend, my roommate and I piled into my Ford Escort station wagon (punx!!1) and made the six-hour trek to Chi-town. Unable to flaunt the great education we'd received, we wound up (A) being some of the only people dumb enough to try and park at the House of Blues (a 26 dollar valet service) and (B) forgetting our sweatshirts in the car, which was whisked away by the valet driver. However, as we were freezing our faces off waiting to get in, I got a chance to assess the diverse gathering of people the Hold Steady brought out standing in line. There were a fair share of Orgcore punkers in Lawrence Arms hoodies mixed in with the hip, metro-looking preppy crowd, the balding young professionals, beer-guzzling bar flies, and indie scenesters (you know, the kind who dance stupidly with their hands halfway in their pockets their heels turned out).

As the line began to move, we finally made it inside, escaping the frigid Chicago wind. However, the security lady frisking my girlfriend informed her that cameras were not allowed inside the House of Blues. So it was back to the freezing cold outside to put her camera in my car. "Yarr, we were so close to getting in," is all I could help thinking.

All debacles aside, the music finally began a little after 6:30 with local openers Sybris. I was hoping they would pronounce their name "Sea Breeze" like the prize-winning greyhound who Brian violated in my favorite episode of "Family Guy," but instead they just bored me. The female lead singer had a really good voice and brought in some great hooks, but the music was pretty much bland rock, and I guess maybe I just wasn't in the mood after the six hour back-killing drive.

The next band, Chin Up Chin Up had a great sound, a little like MÍlée with less poppy vocals. However, all their songs were at a similar speed and ended up lulling me to sleep, albeit a pleasant sleep.

By the time the Hold Steady appeared on stage, I was rested and ready to rock out. And so were they. I instantly recognized the familiar tickled piano notes coming through the opening measures as the band launched into "Stuck Between Stations" off their 2006 Vagrant debut Boys and Girls in America. Lead singer Craig Finn was all over the stage, spitting out his spoken-sung vocals and having the time of his life. Throughout the show, the music was always spot-on, though the vocals were often hard to hear and decipher, probably due to low levels or my position to the left of the stage. The band covered much of their best material off Boys and Girls, including "Chips Ahoy!," "You Can Make Him Like You," "Hot Soft Light," "Southtown Girls," and my personal favorite "Massive Nights." The crowd was even lucky enough to hear "Chillout Tent," which the band rarely plays live, complete with the male/female vocals. From Separation Sunday, they played fan favorite "Your Little Hoodrat Friend," "Hornets! Hornets!," "Cattle and Creeping Things," and "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night." The band even dipped into some older material playing "The Swish" and ending with "Killer Parties" after an encore in which the bassist tossed free cigarettes up to the balcony and into the crowd.

Overall, it was a solid performance and set list. I was a little disappointed they didn't play "Some Kooks" but with "Massive Nights" and "Chillout Tent" they more than made up for it. Leaving the House of Blues, a warm, cozy feeling came over me seeing all the different people filing out of the building, whistling the tunes they'd heard over the last hour and a half. That warm feeling left as I stood outside in the freezing cold, waiting for the 26 dollar valet service to bring me my car. But the first thing I did when I got in my car was to slide Boys and Girls in America into my CD player, and that feeling came right back.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
greg0rb (January 11, 2007)

That's so funny we were both there before we knew each other... what was that, '98? Yeah NUFAN were awesome, and it was sweet how the girl from DHC did the vocals on On the Outside just like the album. I was HUGE into Limp back then too... too bad they kinda fizzled out. Wonder what those dudes are up to.
-Greg

maverick (January 11, 2007)

Holy shit, Greg, you were at that show, too? That was my first-ever HOB show -- I even interviewed No Use For A Name that night for, like, 90 minutes (and subsequently lost the interview tape). NUFAN were killer that night.

-Scott

greg0rb (January 10, 2007)

I saw that show there the day before on New Years Eve. Yeah it was expensive as hell, but I wouldn't say it was a ripoff because seeing Hold Steady for the first time was totally worth it. Such an appropriate band for a huge New Years party. Scott, at my show at least, was in the 'back porch' part of HOB. It wasn't too bad... I hadn't been to HOB since high school seeing Dance Hall Crashers, Limp and No Use for a Name... now THAT was a lineup!
-Greg

Anonymous (January 10, 2007)

I love this band.

They are one of the only band I've seen that smile when they play live.

Anonymous (January 10, 2007)

was in town for this show...i have to agree that the sound was terrible, for both holdsteady and chin up chin up ( i missed sybaris). i love the holdsteady, but the sound guy had his head right up his pooper, because the sound was SHIT. thanks house of blues....

Anonymous (January 9, 2007)

the hold steady is one of the absolute best live bands around right now. they're one of the very few who clearly show how much fun they're having, and its contagious. more bands should be such a good time.

GlassPipeMurder (January 9, 2007)

I wasn't exaggerating sleeping through Chin Up Chin Up--keeping in mind, it was the day after New Year's Eve and I'd just driven 6 hours. I would have liked to have given them more coverage, but it's kind of hard when you're not conscious through their set.

fritobandito (January 9, 2007)

"They're so bland. It's like the johnnycake I made in 3rd grade history. I was hyping it up because I was hungry, but once I tasted it, it was bland and I didnt know why people liked it. This band should change their name to The Microwavable Johnnycakes."

I totally disagree with this statement, but that was the funniest analogy I've read in a long time.

ryne (January 9, 2007)

I'm disappointed there isn't more mention of Chin Up Chin Up in this review.

ryne (January 9, 2007)

I'm disappointed there isn't more mention of Chin Up Chin Up in this review.

ryne (January 9, 2007)

I'm disappointed there isn't more mention of Chin Up Chin Up in this review.

Anonymous (January 9, 2007)

it's called narrative. stop wasting your time at myspace, it will make you stupid.

damnitsderek (January 9, 2007)

The first half of the review looks like something I'd read in a myspace blog.

Anonymous (January 9, 2007)

Your mention of Chin Up Chin Up is super dismissive. They're worth a whole lot more than that.

Anonymous (January 9, 2007)

i thought chin up chin up broke up

GlassPipeMurder (January 9, 2007)

Yeah I knew they played in IA City but it was right around finals and I was pretty tied up.

And I wasn't making fun of indie scenesters...just saying they dance like retards.

Archangel (January 9, 2007)

Making fun of indie scenesters is the new making fun of faux-emo kids. Score is for trendy rants in reviews.

StormShadow (January 9, 2007)

Hey GlassPipeMurder, did you know The Hold Steady played in Iowa City on Dec. 7? You could have saved four hours of driving. Just sayin'.

maverick (January 9, 2007)

I still haven't heard the new album yet, I suppose I should get on it.

Are HOB good venues? We don't have them in Canada.


Does Toronto not count? Because there's one there.

And yeah, generally House Of Blues are pretty decent to great. It all depends on the staff. I LOVE the Cleveland one; it's incredibly intimate, great PA/lights, clean bathrooms, great staff, lots of parking, security doesn't manhandle kids...

-Scott

ben_conoley (January 9, 2007)

I still haven't heard the new album yet, I suppose I should get on it.

Are HOB good venues? We don't have them in Canada.

Anonymous (January 9, 2007)

the two comments below drip with jealousy...

Holy_Balls (January 9, 2007)

I'm surprised you didnt fall asleep to The Hold Steady also. They're so bland. It's like the johnnycake I made in 3rd grade history. I was hyping it up because I was hungry, but once I tasted it, it was bland and I didnt know why people liked it. This band should change their name to The Microwavable Johnnycakes.

Anonymous (January 9, 2007)

I have no idea why people love The Hold Steady. They are kind of tolerable, but really pretty boring. A background music bar band, with decent enough lyrics, though they are better for reading than hearing.

maverick (January 9, 2007)

Man, Sybris must have some good connections. They got to open the Trio/Popes NYE show, too. And Dan Andriano took them out on his solo tour. You think a band would have to better than mediocre to get those kind of breaks.

Bummed I missed this show, but I had to drive back to Cleveland on New Years Day. Was it in the actual House Of Blues proper? That place seems far too huge for the Hold Steady to play in.

-Scott

jamespastepunk (January 9, 2007)

Weird. Sybris was also booked for the trio show....

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