1990s, Art Brut and The Hold Steady @ 930

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Let me first start with a thank you to my friend Ryan for getting me to this show. 1990s, Art Brut and The Hold Steady were on the roster as part of the American NME Rock and Roll Riot tour on Nov. 20 at 930 club comprising of a very unique night of ups, downs, thought provoking performances and all-out in your face rock. And NPR was there to stream the whole show (except for the 1990s set, dammit).

Second let me talk about 1990s. You need to see these guys now. I was completely surprised and blown away by their spunk, wit and general bad-ass vibe. These blokes from Glasgow had an infectious charm to them that permeated through their music. These cheeky bastards can rock out with the best of them. I had only heard You’re Supposed to Be My Friend prior to the show but after hearing their set the album is a must have heading into 2008. Watch out for these guys. Seriously.

On to Art Brut. Hmmm. How do I approach Art Brut. One of the most interesting shows I’ve ever seen. And I must emphasize just the show part of it because it wasn’t really a rock show but more of a art performance. After talking about how bad-ass The Hold Steady were (which I’ll get to), all anyone was talking about at the post-show hangout at Marvin was Art Brut. Complete with a massive screen indicating song titles and band member names, Eddie Argos spoke over the crashing guitars and snapping drums in a way that seemed to be making fun of themselves. According to NME, the band is part of a “art-wave” scene in South London and play punk-inspired rock with a playful sense of humor. Sure. That works for me. Highlights included We Formed a Band and Direct Hit.

Now to The Hold Steady. Wow. What a fucking show this was. I’ve only previously listened to Boys and Girls in America and enjoyed it very much. But frankly I didn’t know much about this band. They floored me. They played with so much energy and happiness you couldn’t help but jump up and down and dance and spill your beer on your friends. All the songs were played with so much vigor, and the crowd responded. Frontman Craig Finn, a dead-ringer for my 10th grade biology teacher, was especially impressive. The guitarist, Tad Kubler, was shredding for the entire show, complete with a scaling of the speakerset on the side of the stage to treat us to a killer solo. Highlights were all of them, but specifically Stuck Between Stations, Chips Ahoy and You Can Make Him Love You. (Photo credit Joel at Kingpin)

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