Has it really been six years since the last local headlining show from the Hold Steady?
Answer: It has!
But that'll change October 13 at Surly Brewing Co. HQ in Minneapolis. The Brooklyn indie-rock greats with deep Twin Cities ties will be the marquee act at SurlyFest, the annual bands 'n' brews blowout at the brewery's outdoor Festival Field. Tickets ($40) go on sale on Friday at 10 a.m. via Surly's website. Additional bands will be unveiled next month.
For now, let's dive deeper into the incredulity of our lede. The last nearby headlining Hold Steady show came way back in 2012 when the band closed down Rock the Garden. In 2014, the group opened the Replacements reunion show at St. Paul's former Midway Stadium; frontman Craig Finn has performed solo several times since then (often with his backing band that City Pages helped name).
The Hold Steady's initial winning streak of indie-rock classics -- Almost Killed Me (2004), Separation Sunday (2005), Boys and Girls in America (2006) -- is one of the strongest back-to-back-to-back performances in modern rock history, a guitar-charged, groove-loaded showcase of Finn's lyrical wizardry. Then came the mostly positive Stay Positive (2008). Then Finn & Co. bottomed out with Heaven Is Whenever (2010) and, most recently, Teeth Dreams (2014), both of which bordered on unintentional self-parody.
There's cause for optimism, though. Since Teeth, the Hold Steady reunited with heyday keyboardist Franz Nicolay, and, over the past six months, they've dropped six singles, most of 'em legit bangers. So get excited for SurlyFest, which'll also feature rivers of the namesake suds, plus food trucks, games, and horizon-expanding pizza.
Here's a taste of the revitalized Hold Steady: