The Hold Steady

After their last local gig in a venue that actually had rows of seats bolted to the floor, they’re back at First Ave. where they’ll always belong, riding the crest of Stay Positive, yet another startling, snarling confessional of clean and dirty secrets set to anthemic guitar riffs, all girded by their thoroughly charming, drunken geek modesty. The new one, out 7/14, harkens and hews closer to the Springsteen ethos than ever (and for all you faux anarchists, that’s a good thing), without losing the idiosyncrasies. Craig Finn’s tales of Brooklyn and Bloomington have always been every bit as righteous and riotous as the chronicles of Asbury Park, but as the E Street simulacrum "Sequestered In Memphis" shows, an impeccably tight band twirling stately piano, horn fanfares and monster guitar riffs can take the most riveting narrative another notch higher. And besides the new stuff, we still have the prospect of watching Finn gesticulating wildly as he talk-sings the blues of "Charlemagne in Sweatpants" or leads the ode to "Southtown Girls." Sold out. Scalp if you have to.