“Our psalms are sing-a-long songs…” – The Hold Steady
The members of The Hold Steady wear their influences on their sleeves. They love The Replacements and Springsteen; name check Meatloaf, Billy Joel and Robbie Robertson; and un-ironically reference “Dancing on the Ceiling” and “Been Caught Stealing” in the same lyric. They worship at the church of St. Joe Strummer. So, like their muses, of course their shows consist of shout-along rockers and hook laden anthems played with unmatched enthusiasm. As a result, there are few places more exhilarating than a Hold Steady show…and that goes double when they play a small venue like U Street Music Hall.
For the uninitiated, U Street Music Hall is a former pool hall that was converted to a music venue in 2010 and typically plays host to DJ sets, dance parties, and smaller touring acts. In fact the club is owned and operated by DJs who ensure that the acoustics of their intimate performance space are second to none. Suffice to say, it’s the smallest venue The Hold Steady have played in the DC-area in years and they took full advantage of the opportunity.