Because as I put it in this week's Short List,
The Hold Steady's most recent record, 2010's Heaven Is Whenever, was pretty much universally derided as the worst of the band's career. But the criticism doesn't really seem fair. Craig Finn's lyrics are still sharp, his stories still compelling, and the band's classic-rock arrangements still pack a punch: In short, it sounds exactly like a Hold Steady record should sound. Perhaps the real problem isn't that The Hold Steady has changed, but that the musical landscape has, and old-fashioned rock (whatever that means) simply isn't as popular anymore--as Jack Endino alluded to in October's edition of Reverb Monthly when he discussed Seattle's lack of true rock bands. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is The Hold Steady's ability to rock a packed venue, which is exactly what should be expected at the Neptune Saturday night.