Live Review, 2/21/12: The Hold Steady's Craig Finn Leads a Good, Depressing Time at Bottom of the Hill

Craig Finn

Sad Baby Wolf

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

Bottom of the Hill / Noise Pop 20th Anniversary Opening Night

Better than: Seeing The Hold Steady.

Ask a local, or a bring a notebook with you to a show, and they'll tell you: Noise Pop is as much about discovering new music as it is about venue-hopping or seeing intimate sets with major acts. Last night's lineup at Bottom of the Hill was no different. Every act on the bill probably wasn't familiar to all (though if you don't know Craig Finn by now, you're not paying attention), but the show offered the kinds of pleasant surprises that Noise Pop has become known for.

Whether you know Craig Finn or not, he wins over people within moments of entering a stage. It's fitting he shared the opening night of Noise Pop with The Flaming Lips — each creates a show as engaging as you'll find, but through directly opposite means. What Finn lacks in confetti, dancing mascots and bullhorns, he makes up with nearly unparalleled levels of storytelling, energy, and audience engagement. His signature arm-flailing and emphatic glares haven't gone anywhere, even if his band's keyboards and accordions were left at home.


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