The Hold Steady with Art Brut and 1990s Nov. 14, 2007 The Palladium Ballroom
Review: As a brisk change in weather moved over Dallas, a refreshing change from the norm in live music hit the Palladium Ballroom as the NME Rock ‘N’ Roll Riot Tour started its last seven dates with a sure shot.
The first act to test the Dallas water was 1990s. They set the bar high for the night, with a great mix of tag team vocals from guitarist Jackie McKeown and drummer Michael McGaughrin. This trio from Glasgow launched into a grungy yet poppy Brit rock set with hook-filled tunes that had you singing along to the easily learned choruses and tapping your toes to the subconscious rhythms. The music unraveled from a gritty, tasty pop that the audience gorged themselves on to a trippy “Stone Roses”-type sound, especially noticeable during the last song, “Situation.”
After a very efficient changeover, Art Brut hit the stage with charm and energy. The band's lead in to “Pump Up the Volume” at the set’s beginning let everyone know that this was going to be a wild ride, and it didn’t disappoint. Vocalist Eddie Argos’ charisma is impressive, as he seems to direct the audience as well as the band. With wit and vigor, the band members ripped through a tremendous set for the ever-growing Dallas crowd, as more danced and drank right along with this London-based indie act.
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Personally, I have to give props to Jasper Future, guitar stylist for Art Brut, for rocking the Shakira shirt. Skinny people get the coolest clothes.
Closing out this impressive show was NYC band The Hold Steady. Frontman and lead vocalist Craig Finn revealed early on in the tour that the band would be premiering several new songs throughout the tour stops, and he definitely came through. “Stay Positive,” one of the new tunes, came across with a touch of both Pete Townshend and Bad Religion. The Hold Steady is driving rock personified, and draws from generations of new wave, classic and modern rock. Finn’s vocals are powerful and forward, and his enthusiasm as a frontman is simply unmatched. The music is creative. Keyboardist Franz Nicolay jumps around between keys, accordion, harmonica, vocals and even a touch of harpsichord. This band is creating a true rock hybrid, keeping fluidity and melodic creativity on the front lines. -- Darren Burgfeld
By the way: Be sure to keep an eye out for The Hold Steady’s next album. If these live premieres are any indication, it’s going to be stellar. If you missed out (and shame on you), you can call some friends and road trip to Austin to La Zona Rosa tonight for what is sure to be another outstanding performance from these great bands.