In what should be the last of the scraps of our trek to Manchester, TN this past weekend, we were psyched to share with ya a clip of what we (and a lot of you) thought was one of the fest’s best sets. But then we stumbled upon the musings of the Long Winters’ John Roderick, keeping a Bonnablog for MSNBC — he’s got the Hold Steady’s set down to four words: “derivative” and “full of shit” — and we thought maybe you’d like to take a gander at that first. He writes:
These fellows have a rabid popularity that leaves me deeply conflicted. Although their live show is undeniably full of energy, full of engagement, and full of whimsy, their music is full of s–t.
I mean that admiringly, since most of rock and roll is similarly full of s–t, (Jim Morrison was 100 percent full of s–t). But after a song and a half, I?d lost track of the number of total rip-offs in their tunes, so much so that their set played like a medley of the greatest hits of the E Street Band, Bad Company, Foreigner and Styx. As played by your uncle?s friends.
The singer talk/sings like Bruce Springsteen during a breakdown, and although he may be saying insightful, hilarious things, the whole lot taken together is inconceivably derivative. This is heresy to say in certain circles, and I was stopped numerous times throughout the day by people I respect and admire who all exclaimed, ?Weren?t the Hold Steady awesome?? but I couldn?t get past it.
I felt like I was at a dot-com Christmas party and a bunch of drunk webmasters got up on stage to jam, with the company cut-up rapping their mission-statement out of a three-ring binder. And everyone at the party said, ?Whoa, those guys are actually good. They should form a band.?
Ouch. Well, at least John and Craig Finn agree on one thing: Jim Morrison. Most of you have probably seen the Hold Steady before and can weigh in without further evidence, but for those that need to see what Roderick assessed, enjoy this Steady rockin’ clip of Bonnaroo set-opener “Stuck Between Stations.”