The Hold Steady at the Horseshoe

Mine and Sam’s one-year anniversary, which ended in a photo booth at the Drake, started with us listening to (of all songs) “Lord, I’m Discouraged” at the Horseshoe Tavern. She hadn’t seen the Hold Steady before Saturday; I hadn’t seen them since 2009, a concert I’ve largely forgotten because it happened the night after I heard “Thugs” live (in retrospect my musical priorities that week might’ve been somewhat skewed). Saturday’s show was the fourth and final night of the Horseshoe’s 67th anniversary celebration. On nights one, two, and three the band played its first, second, and third albums front-to-back. Logically, then, the fourth night should’ve seen then playing Stay Positive…until Craig Finn debunked that assumption with a Facebook message a few hours beforehand. Instead, they killed the audience.

I’ll be doing my annual year in review shortly. This concert will be my #1 show of 2014 with a bullet.

Set…and because it’s the Hold Steady, my favourite line from each song!

  • Ask Her for Adderall (“If she asks just tell her that we opened for the Stones/It’s her favourite band except for the Ramones”)
  • Sequestered in Memphis (“I remember she had satellite radio”)
  • Rock Problems (“Some writer’s by the fridge, said he didn’t make the gig, wants to know if I was drunk/He said some kids that he knows from the net said the sound kinda sucks”)
  • Magazines (“Magazines and daddy issues/I know you’re pretty pissed, I hope you’ll still let me kiss you”)
  • Navy Sheets (CENSORED)
  • Continuous Thunder [The Japandroids] (the band played four different songs by Canadian artists during their Horseshoe residency; they played all four at this show) 
  • Stuck Between Stations (“He loved the Golden Gophers but he hated all the drawn-out winters.” This was the first Hold Steady song I heard, actually, at Lollapalooza 2007.)
  • The Swish (no line from this one, actually: just the riff, over and over and over again)
  • Chips Ahoy! (“She put $900 on the fifth horse in the sixth race”)
  • Lord, I’m Discouraged (the first line of the chorus: “Excuses and half-truths and fortified wine.” I’ve always loved this line.)
  • Constructive Summer (obviously it’s “Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer/I think he might’ve been our only decent teacher.” That’s actually a candidate for my favourite line in rock music.)
  • Hot Soft Light (“I was blotto, I was blacked-out, I was cracked-out”)
  • Don’t Let It Bring You Down [Neil Young]
  • Joke About Jamaica (“They used to think it was so cute when she said ‘Dy’er Mak’er'”)
  • Massive Nights (aside from the chorus, which is essentially the title and a lot of shouting: “We had some massive highs/We had some crushing lows/We had some lusty little crushes/We had those all-ages hardcore matinee shows”)
  • You Can Make Him Like You (“You don’t have to go to the right kind of schools/Let your boyfriend go to the right kind of schools”)
  • Southtown Girls (no specific line, but the references to Minneapolis kill me)
  • Slapped Actress (the chanting at the end)


  • Cuts Like A Knife [Bryan Adams] (Sam picked this one up before literally anybody else in the place)
  • Young Lions [The Constantines]
  • Citrus (“I’ve had kisses that make Judas seem sincere”)
  • Your Little Hoodrat Friend (Can a title count? Sure it can. Then again, it’s also a line in the song, so…)
  • Stay Positive (“The singalong songs will be our scriptures,” plus the chorus, obviously)
  • How a Resurrection Really Feels (“St. Louis had enslaved me, I guess Santa Ana saved me, St. Peter had me on the queue, the St. Paul saints they waved me through”)
  • Killer Parties (“Killer parties almost killed me”)

Have I mentioned how much I love this band?


One thought on “The Hold Steady at the Horseshoe

  1. Pingback: My Favourite Concerts of 2014 | Stuff and Nonsense

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