Minneapolis-based indie rock outfit The Hold Steady are bringing their semi-intellectual, boozed up sound to the Orpheum in Ybor City on Thursday night, along with The Big Sleep and Nessie. The Hold Steady reference the infamous Tampa party district in a number of their songs.
The Hold Steady was formed in 2000 by ex-Lifter Puller member Craig Finn and since then has released three albums. The themes are usually parties, alcohol and the fleeting invincibility of youth, backed by indie-tuned Bruce Springsteen-esque piano riffs and classic rock power chords. Don’t be quick to judge, though – the band does manage to pepper the bar rock with the occasional literary reference.
There are allusions to poet John Berryman and author Jack Kerouac in the song “Stuck Between Stations” on the band’s latest album Boys and Girls in America.
The band interlaces lyrical sensibility in verses dealing with blackout drunk nights and overdoses on mushrooms. It is difficult to pull off such a juxtaposition of themes without sounding trite, but somehow The Hold Steady manages to do it.
Post-rock experimental trio The Big Sleep go light on the lyrics and compose sprawling sonic vistas that are cerebral and intense. The sparse vocals and the complexity of the music can easily draw the listener into a sort of trance. They should be an interesting sidestep from the rock and roll poignancy of Nessie and The Hold Steady.
Nessie takes their stories of lost love and late nights to the stage in classic power-pop style.
“Chalked it up to beer and happenstance / she won’t spare a backwards glance,” are the first lines from their September release, Drunk with a Gun. Both the title of the EP and the opening verse more or less define the band’s themes and mood.
If readers are unfamiliar with any of these bands or want to know more about them, they can check them all out in MySpace.com’s music section.
The 18-and-up show kicks off at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door and $10 in advance.