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Review: The Hold Steady at Epic Studios for Norwich Sound and Vision

PUBLISHED: 11:34 12 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:34 12 October 2014

NSV2014: The Hold Steady.

NSV2014: The Hold Steady.

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'We were bored so we started a band. We'd like to play for you.'

So sing The Hold Steady on 'The Sweet Part Of The City' to the 300-plus crowd gathered at Epic for the closing headline gig of this year's Norwich Sound and Vision Festival.

The Hold Steady at Epic Studios. Photo supplied by @iseenoiseThe Hold Steady at Epic Studios. Photo supplied by @iseenoise

And if ever a lyric summed up a band’s attitude, it’s that.

Formed in 2004 when lead singer Craig Finn decided to try and make up for a lack of modern day rock and roll, the band famously never really expected their music to take them out of hometown New York.

But several superb albums very quickly saw them develop a fan base around the world - and a reputation as one of the best live bands around.

A decade and six albums on they still come across as a group of mates out to play their favourite music - the added bonus being others want to listen to it as well.

That passion is a large part of the band’s charm and Finn, a man with an amazing ability to tell a story in a song, spends most of this 75-minute gig happily smiling at the crowd and egging them on.

The fact Epic is only about half full seems not to matter to them at all.

The rest of their appeal comes from the fact they simply have a fantastic back catalogue of punchy, in your face tunes to chose from.

New album ‘Teeth Dreams’ may not be as instantly infectious as earlier releases, but it’s unmistakably The Hold Steady - and highly enjoyable.

The best songs of the evening are opener ‘Positive Jam’, ‘Stay Positive’ and ‘Sequestered In Memphis’ - but in truth there are few dud tracks.

They storm through a lively set, the only slight moan being that the lack of an encore left everyone wanting more.

But perhaps that’s exactly how they want it to be.

* It’s been another excellent Sound and Vision Festival and the organisers should be very proud. Highlight for me was the shock at just how fantastic Radiophonic Workshop were on Thursday at Epic. They are exactly the sort of surprise treat the festival should be looking to provide.

On the flip side, as much as I am a fan of The Hold Steady - they seemed a strange choice for Saturday night headliners - and out of keeping with the festival’s apparent theme of pushing fresh and up and coming local and UK talents - perhaps the half full arena proved that.

Nevertheless - the festival continues to get better and better - rock and roll on 2015.

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