I went to see The Hold Steady and Drive By Truckers at the Wiltern on Tuesday night. I've been a fan of DBT for quite a while now, but I wasn't expecting a tremendous show from them. The Truckers are a band for whom the crowd is extremely important. Unfortunately, LA just doesn't have the fan base that they need to really get the ball rolling (damned LA posers). I've seen them in LA twice now, and both times they were technically excellent but the magic wasn't there. I enjoyed every minute, nonetheless. Now when I saw them in July at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach...well, that was a special show. It cost me a $150 pair of Ecco's, but was well worth it (and is another story altogether).
For The Hold Steady however, LA is filled with fans, and they came out in force for this concert. I've only recently really started listening to their music, and I like it; but for me the live show clenched their place in my playlist. What a powerful performance. The music was performed perfectly, the energy was high, and the crowd was pumped up. I highly recommend seeing them live.
The highlight for me was the finale where both bands came out on stage. Now, DBT rocks no less than three guitars, The Hold Steady adds two more, plus Shonna Tucker picked up a six-string for a change for a total of six guitars. (BTW, Shonna if you read this, I have a huge crush on you. Just so's ya know.) Not once, though, did the six guitar thing get out of control. The combined bands performed a version of DBT's Let There Be Rock and covered Robbie Robertson's Look Out, Cleveland. But for me the highlight was the cover of AC/DC's Ride on, which was spectacular.
All in all, a fantastic show. If you get a chance to see either band, take it - great musicians and great music.
We'll see y'all at the rock show.