The Hold Steady @ Birmingham Academy 2 06/02/11

What do you get if you cross The Hold Steady and Superbowl Sunday? Massive nights! Pun intended.

On support duty, Canadian quintet Wintersleep offered up an entertaining outing , even if thier blend of alt rock lingered between too many genres for my liking. Whilst they clearly drew a dedicated following in their own right, this being their first visit to UK shores, they sounded like a band still trying to discover to their own sound.

Having seen The Hold Steady twice previously, whilst I may have known exactly what to expect, this by no means ditracted from the fun, the band opening with a seamless run that included ‘Constructive Summer’, ‘Hurricane J’ and ‘Sequested In Memphis’. Moments after, having barely caught his breath, the always energetic frontman Craig Finn was quick to mention to Superbowl, showing his support for (eventual winners) The Green Bay Packers.

Clearly in good spirits, the band proceeded through a mix of material from most recent offering ‘Heaven Is Whenever’, as well as old favourites ‘Stuck Between Stations’ and ‘You Can Make It Him Like You’. However it was perhaps the less predictable outing for the lesser performed ‘Magazines’ that stole the show.

Wrapping up with tracks such as ‘The Weekenders’, before a generous encore that included ‘Stay Positive’, ‘Hornets! Hornets!’ and the now customary ‘Slapped Actress’ finish, the Hold Steady leave safe in the knowledge their once cult, but now sizeable UK following are once again satisfied.

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