The Hold Steady, Natural Child, Spider Bags

When: Sun., Oct. 14, 8:45 p.m. 2012

The Hold Steady were a captivating rock band that, out of nowhere, decided to pair incredibly intricate lyrics about the lifestyles and toils of an underbelly of punk-rock youth with the sort of blistering, solo-heavy rock 'n' roll those kids might've hated. For three albums between 2004 and 2006, that strategy was inscrutable, rendering a triptych of records where characters became people you started to care for or criticize, like Friday Night Lights actors duking it out in Minneapolis in the late '80s. But since the release of the bittersweet and poignant Boys and Girls in America, the idea has stretched into something of a yawn, where the characters have grown tired of the roles they've played and the sounds have shifted toward a cloying and queezing Counting Crows-like softness. As some members have departed and others have focused on solo diversions, The Hold Steady's of-that-moment chutzpah has faded, making them another band just trying to make another record. Sure, those old songs still feel like old friends, while the band that made them trudges ahead without the urgency that was once so intoxicating. Perhaps Spider Bags, who open, can remind them of it. With Natural Child. —Grayson Currin

Price: $18-20

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