Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

Hold Steady returns hope to rock’n’roll

holdsteady.com

With the release of the Hold Steady’s third album “Boys and Girls in America,” the Hold Steady has rightfully earned the title of “the best band around today.” Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone magazine said, “Damn you Hold Steady! How can any band be this good?” Pitchfork online music review gave the Hold Steady the highest rating this year, a womping 9.4. The Hold Steady started as an homage bar band. With idols like The Band, the Hold Steady aspired to bring back the “bar band.” Their debut, “Almost Killed Me,” achieved the bar band mentality with tracks like “The Swish” and “Barfruit Blues.” The entire album is laid with bar room scenes, full of bloody and beer-soaked drunks.

The band has humble beginnings, despite their monstrous sound. Tad Kubler, lead guitarist and vocals for the band, said “Me and Craig were just sitting around watching The Last Waltz when Craig said, ‘Dude, why aren’t there any bands like this anymore? Let’s do this from now on.'”

Attending a Hold Steady show is like attending a child’s little league game – even if they don’t play well, you still cheer like hell. The band smacks smiles onto the faces in the audience while Tad plays shredding guitar solos. The audience cheers and proudly claps for a job well done. Franz Nicolay, piano player, opens a bottle of wine and pumps his fist in the air, making a sacrifice to the Gods of Rock.

“Boys and Girls in America” is one of the most hopeful albums ever. Finn’s three archetypical characters, Gideon, Holly Halleluiah, and Charlemagne, go through obstacles that the modern youth in America experience. They are broken, weak, and ready for something different. Bar rooms and drugged-up shows won’t suffice what Holly is looking for.

The album is Craig Finn’s interpretation of boys and girls in America. He says, “They have such a sad time together.” His message of hope is found hidden underneath all the drunken and high pictures that he paints in the album. The hope comes from an alternative to the hard partying scene. The hope is faith, love, not the emptiness of getting high. “There’s a type of positivity to that record,” Finn said. “That excites me the most just because that’s the way I think about things in life. And I’m excited that people are buying into it, because there’s so much out there that’s so dark and so negative.”

When Craig Finn sings, he shapes the words in the air with his hands. He looks like an uncoordinated kid, but he truly becomes the lyrics he sings.

The audience becomes part of the band at a Hold Steady show. Craig sings to the sea of hands as he reaches into the crowd, trying to make ripples into the crowd spreading hope throughout.

“We are trying to create an atmosphere,” said Finn. “The people are having fun. I want people to make it our shows and then the next time we come around, they’re like, ‘Note to self: take work off the next day.’ Cause I know I don’t want to go to work after that.”

During their Boys and Girls in America tour, the audience rushed the stage at the end of the set as Craig and the rest of the band soaked them with beer. “We started pulling people on stage throughout the tour on that last song,” Finn said. “And it was really fun. It just is a really awesome way to end the show. It just shows people that they are an important part of this tour.”

Pulling people on stage eliminates awkwardness for the band and audience, according to Finn.

“You know, for the performer there’s always that uncomfortable moment at the end of the show,” He said. “When the audience kind of wants another song. But once you’ve pulled everyone on stage and all the instruments get unplugged and everyone gets beer-soaked, it’s pretty obvious that the shows over. It’s just a nice closer that way.” The band is coming out with a DVD of their “Boys and Girls in America” tour and has been interviewing fans at their shows. All of their crazy, rocking nights will be available soon through Vagrant Records.

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