The Hold Steady Test Their Hometown Fans at Show

Photo: Tracy Morford

We've closely followed every bit of news dribbling out about Stay Positive, the Hold Steady album due July 15, and wondered whether it will mean the rest of the world's laying claim to the band the way that we New Yorkers have. Sadly, Friday night's Webster Hall show — the band's first full hometown gig since they finished recording — didn’t offer much of a sneak peek. Craig Finn mumbled something about “our album coming out” before the band tore into an unidentified loose-limbed new jam — most likely the title track, which has already become a staple of their live set. For a bit, it was business as usual: Finn herking and jerking as the band churned behind him, shuffling his feet like he was building up static energy, doing those dainty little one-eighth claps. He shouted out the Kentucky Derby before introducing the twisted horse-racing-and-painkillers love story “Chips Ahoy,” and sounded genuinely concerned, sweetly enough, about our comfort level apropos the temperature in the club. But only 45 minutes later, the show was over. (It’s not clear who was to blame, but Webster Hall did have to set up for DJ Cipha Sounds's all-ages after-prom party.) Sweaty and agitated folks waited around for an encore, and then broke into chants of “Tribeca Sucks” (the film festival sponsored the show). Poor defenseless roadies dodged flying plastic cups while wrapping up guitar cords. The consolation? The Hold Steady will play McCarren Pool this summer. And we will be there, drinking beer. —Amos Barshad