The Hold Steady hits the Miramar on a hot streak

If gaining critical acclaim such as being named Blender Magazine's 2006 Band of the Year has helped the Hold Steady get national notice, being considered one of the country's best bar bands probably increase their fan base in a town like Milwaukee.

The Hold Steady is set to play its heady, but often humorous brand of party rock at the Miramar Theatre on Milwaukee's Eastside Thursday, May 17 with a show starting at 7 p.m. Opening for the Hold Steady are the Heartless Bastards and the Ratchets. 

While the Hold Steady is currently gaining notoriety, including a "Letterman" appearance early this year, comparisons to more known bands and influences are always helpful. With Minneapolis and Wisconsin roots, the Hold Steady reflect rhythmic styles and sounds from bands like the Replacements, Suburbs and Husker Du. However, a combination of both deep and stream of consciousness lyrics bring on comparisons to Springsteen, Weezer, Guided by Voices or Bowling for Soup.

Hold Steady vocalist, front man and lyricist Craig Finn got the band together in Brooklyn a few years back with lead guitarist and composer Tad Kubler after in early incarnation as Lifter Puller in the Twin Cities. Their first release "Almost Killed Me" was well received in 2004 featuring "Most People are DJs" and "The Swish," which cleverly and raucously references everyone from Beverly Sills to Tuscan Raiders. That was followed by "Separation Sunday" in 2005 with "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" and "Charlemagne in Sweatpants."

Their latest effort, "Boys and Girls in America," starts off rockin' with "Stuck  between Stations" and "Chips Ahoy!," both refreshingly upbeat rockers. One describing chance encounters with literary characters and women, and the other the story of a frustrated nymphomaniac who bets the ponies. This a band that is smart without pretension, with Finn mixing odd characters with allusions from
literature to pop culture to sports into his rapid-fire lyrics.

Finn and Kubler are backed by a tight rhythm section of Galen Polivka on bass, Bobby Drake on drums and Franz Nicolay on keyboards. With Polivka hailing from the same Whitefish Bay High School class as Craig Counsell, the Bay grads are playing for two of the hottest things going right now in music and sports. In fact, the Hold Steady enjoy their sports and recently recorded a high energy, but Minnesota Twins-friendly version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" that is being played at the Metrodome. Oh, and the Twins are in town this weekend. Are you listening Mr. Attanasio?

For those who can't catch the Hold Steady at the Miramar, or who just want a Hold Steady Wisconsin doubleheader, they are set to play at the Orpheum in Madison on Friday night.    

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