Glasgow Seems Alive Tonight

It’s been a hard time for Scottish Hold Steady fans recently, their original headline date last year was cancelled due to guitarist Tad Kubler falling ill, the band were then due to support Counting Crows last winter but they got ill and so it’s an added relief to finally see them back in action at the SECC this summer. A support slot may not be the ideal way to see your heroes in action, but the band put on a magnificent 45 minute show that has us all wondering precisely when they’re going to stop. They might be second on the bill but they put on a show that makes them this evening’s real winners. Kicking off with ‘Constructive Summer’ the band pull out all the stops for their usual, high-energy, charismatic performance with; centre stage singer Craig Finn draws all eyes with his frenzied, hyperactive gestures, while bassist Galen and keyboard/accordion player Franz Nicolay give the crowd something to smile at with their own quirky larks. The band may not be teenagers but they certainly have the energy, which seems to pick up any crowd, albeit a packed room full of Counting Crows fans, some of whom simply hail the band as, “bizarre”. However alongside the noticeable pockets of dedicated fans, there are also a good number of non-Hold Steady converts who begin to sing along with the numerous “wooh-ooo” choruses and lap up the band’s vibes.

The set features some of the band’s recent popular summers, ‘Chips Ahoy’, ‘Yeah Sapphire’ and ‘Constructive Summer’ being the most obvious ones, but there are also gems from their back catalogue like, ‘Your Little Hoodrat Friend’, ‘Cattle and the Creeping Things’ and ‘Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night’. One noticeable exclusion is ‘Stuck Between Stations’, which might well be classified as the band’s breakthrough track in the UK, but it’s somewhat refreshing to think that they have a strong enough set to miss out such a classic and still win new fans and please old ones. With a new live album, ‘Positive Rage’ out, the band play a fair few number of the featured tracks but don’t hesitate to pick up on the tracks you may have overlooked on the albums and transform them into something engaging that makes you realise that they have no weak material. Support slot or not, Glasgow doesn’t seem tired tonight and The Hold Steady seem to have gained plenty of support with their frenzied onstage antics and anthemic tunes.