Sunday night at the Casbah was not a Hold Steady show. Playing songs from his solo album Clear Hearts Full Eyes, singer Craig Finn traded the catharsis and redemptive release of his regular band for introspection and reflection. Those few audience members who came prepared for a Hold Steady show may have been disappointed in this lower-key affair, but those who came expecting something different were treated to something not only different, but special.
The common thread linking Finn’s projects has always been his exuberance and joy in the live setting — he’s “played about a million shows” by his count, but he’s somehow sidestepped the bitterness and weariness that marks so many career musicians these days. The new songs came alive in this space, as Finn breathed life into characters that sounded like they could have been the supporting cast in Hold Steady songs — proving that in music, as in life, even the bit players have stories of their own.
Photos – Craig Finn at the Casbah – February 19, 2012