Review: The Hold Steady, Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady
Craig Finn of The Hold Steady

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Rare is the gig in front of a packed crowd at The Wedge where you could hear a pin drop between songs.

But when frontman Craig Finn speaks there is silence – which is in stark contrast to the frenzy that greets their songs.

It’s a measure of just how much love and respect there is for this band of blue collar punks.

On a wet and windy Sunday evening this band took their Southsea crowd to a Brooklyn bar where it’s always Saturday night.

Since the full-time addition of Steve Selvidge on guitar after the last album, Finn has been freed to play more of the frontman, and he is the nerd Springsteen.

Spitting out lyrics like a machine gun, Finn is a charismatic figure.

Tad Kubler and Selvidge on twin guitar have given the band a meatier sound.

With six albums behind them, they wisely scattered the new songs lightly in the set, but Big Cig and Spinners more than earned their places.

High spots are hard to pick in a set packed with them, but Chips Ahoy! and the killer one-two of First Night and Stuck Between Stations were definitely there.

Finn is earnest when he thanks the crowd for picking them on a Sunday night, but one suspects it’s entirely heartfelt – and well earned.