Last Night: The Hold Steady at Walter’s

Date

: June 7, 2007


Venue

: Walter’s on Washington


Better Than

: Watching a concert in hell, but not much


So I rode my bike to work this morning. A few miles down Allen Parkway. 90 degree heat. Black T-shirt. Very little shade. Back covered in sweat by the time I got here. No big deal. Seriously, no big deal. It was nothing compared to the heat inside Walter’s last night.

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We’re talking no a/c, sold-out crowd, Houston summer, face-melting heat. We’re talking hell.

Opening act Illinois tore it up, playing banjo-tinged rock. The guys really put on a great show, and by the end they had the place singing along. But then came the lull, the time between acts, the realization of how sultry it really was in there. Cold Lone Stars were rubbed on necks, shirts were yanked back and forth in an attempt to fan bellies. But nothing could cut the heat.

Up came the Hold Steady, one helluva act, a quintessential bar band, ready to rock in a small club. Frontman Craig Finn, who sounds in person exactly like he does on the albums, started (and ended) the set with a throaty a cappella of the line “I'm pretty sure we partied, I really don't remember” from the song “Killer Parties,” setting the crowd off at the beginning (and settling it down at the end). In between, the band rocked, and talked, and rocked some more.

Or at least we assume that’s what happened. For a good portion of the middle of the set, we were hiding next door at Chaise Lounge, soaking up the a/c. Damn, that was some good a/c. Too bad they couldn’t just pipe the music into there. – Keith Plocek

CORRECTION: Craig Finn actually began the concert with a throaty a cappella of "She said always remember never to trust me / She said that the first night she met me" from the song "Hornets! Hornets!" Thanks to Jeremy of Space City Rock for pointing that out. HouStoned regrets the error. Really, we do.


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