Review: The Hold Steady at the Ritz
With the changes occurring so rapidly in the field of music, it's nice to see bands like the Hold Steady, a group that innovates musically while remaining grounded in rock.
While first scheduled to happen at Jannus Landing, the concert was moved over to the the Ritz in Ybor City, and I think it was for the better. The Hold Steady just has more of an indoor vibe.
With a unique lyrical style that's more like storytelling than singing, the Hold Steady was able to capture the crowd immediately. While I don't want to even mention the word emo when talking about the Hold Steady, you can sense the powerful feelings that emanate from their music. I'd love to sit in on one of their recording sessions to see just what's going on behind their creative process.
While the show was good and kept the crowd engaged, I couldn't help but feel a little bored at times. I think that comes from knowing that they excel at playing venues smaller than the Ritz. While they definitely have it in them to play the larger concert halls, they need to learn how to cater to a bigger audience.
I have to note that I was thoroughly surprised by the opening group, GreyMarket. Made up of a guitarist, drummer and a laptop, they have a sound that takes inspiration from many bands but never copies. I agree completely with Jay Cridlin, who saw them at Heatwave. Why these guys haven't made it into the limelight yet is beyond me. I really couldn't do much else other than stand and watch in awe as the two guys rocked on stage. They were that good.
The show was exactly what I wanted from the night. Two good bands that displayed ingenuity and creativity with their musical styles, but still kept their music fun enough to move and dance to.
--Story/photos by Leigh Armstrong, Times Staff Writer
Check after the jump for more photos of the show!