The Hold Steady – Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA – Sept. 8, 2014

I went out to catch The Hold Steady show at Underground Arts in Philadelphia last night. I only brought a point and shoot along with me because, as ashamed as I am to admit this, it was the first time I had ever seen The Hold Steady live and I didn’t want to watch them through a viewfinder the whole time.

Craig Finn - The Hold Steady at the Underground Arts in Philadelphia, PA on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.

Craig Finn – The Hold Steady at the Underground Arts in Philadelphia, PA on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.

With that being said, it was an amazing show from start to finish. I was talking to a friend of mine out in Chicago today and we both agreed that, besides being incredibly talented, Craig Finn seems to have a genuinely good time on stage. Not the “Oh yeah! I’m a rock star and life is a party!” kind of good time, but something more pure or real. From the time he walked out on to the stage until the last note of the encore, he looked at us out in the crowd like we were old friends that he was unbelievably glad to see.

Unfortunately, that has become kind of rare, not just in the music world, but life in general. I find myself walking around with some version of a scowl on my ugly mug most of the time, but I’m not always mad. It’s just my face’s default mode. Who knows, maybe if I stopped walking around in such a perpetual state of brooding and started smiling every once in a while, life might be a little bit better.

So to summarize, the venue, the set list, the vocals, the instruments and the crowd participation were all fantastic, but the coolest thing was that the band seemed just as happy and appreciative to see us out in the crowd as we were to see them up on stage.