TURF reviews: The Hold Steady at Fort York – July 6, 2013

The Hold Steady played their first Toronto performance in three years at July 6 at TURF. Photo: Tom Beedham

The Hold Steady played their first Toronto performance in three years July 6 at TURF. Photo: Tom Beedham

When The Hold Steady took the west stage at TURF, frontman Craig Finn commented on how, at lots of concerts, bands don’t need introductions, modestly proposing, “We do.”

Indeed, the band had its share of lead-ins. TURF co-presenter Donny Kutzbach from Funtime Presents, Canadian sports broadcaster Dave Hodge, and even English folk singer Frank Turner – who aired his excitement over The Hold Steady’s set earlier during his own on the west stage – all appeared onstage just before the indie rock group’s set to offer forwards.

But even for some that have already been enjoying the band for years, the concert was an introduction (or an update) of sorts, as any that might have missed their Toronto performance at the Phoenix in 2010 had yet to be exposed to the band live without keyboardist Franz Nicolay or with the addition of new guitarist Steve Selvidge.

Still, if there was anyone more excited for the band to be onstage at TURF than Turner, who lowered himself into the VIP viewing area in front of the stage before The Hold Steady began, Finn would have been a good contender.

Providing one of the most animated sets Fort York saw over the course of the weekend, the audience was made fully aware of The Hold Steady’s need for Selvidge’s second guitar as Finn neglected his to theatrically raise his arms in the air, point at fans, and pull at what’s left of his hair while singing with a smile on his face and a head that looked like it might explode from all of the energy.

Between songs, he engaged the crowd with a bait about visiting the Sky Dome earlier in the day to see his favourite team play a ball game (the Minnesota Twins).

The band played “Chips Ahoy,” “Hurricane J,” “Magazines,” “Rock Problems,” “Sequestered in Memphis” and “The Swish,” as well as some material they announced they would be recording in studio shortly thereafter.

They closed out the action on the west stage with “Stay Positive,” featuring Frank Turner.

Originally published by The Ontarion.

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