Craig Finn, who fronts the band, is an indie-rock poet, delivering his dark story-songs in a half-sung, half-recited but always-urgent way. "One thousand kids will fall in love in all these clubs tonight/One thousand other kids will end up gushing blood tonight," is a Brucelike image from "Most People Are DJs."
There is no other rock frontman quite like Finn. With his glasses, receding hairline and buttondown shirts, he looks like he could play the insecure leading man in a Woody Allen movie. But put him in front of a microphone with an electric guitar in his hands and he becomes a charismatic ringleader. As gritty as his lyrics can be, he consistently projects a sense of joy at being able to recite them over the aggressive rock 'n' roll that he and the rest of Hold Steady (guitarist Tad Kubler, keyboardist Franz Nicolay, bassist Galen Polivka and drummer Bobby Drake) play.
Originally formed in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area and now based in Brooklyn, the band has released four studio albums since 2004, generating almost unanimous praise from rock critics. The band's latest release, last year's CD/DVD set A Positive Rage, sums up its early years with live recordings and a behind-the-scenes documentary.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission. For more info call (845) 679-4406.