The tickets for the concert said doors at 5pm and show at 6pm. Weather forecast was rain and I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend another concert soaking wet. But I forced myself up and out of the house and it was a gorgeous afternoon. When I got to the west side it was after 5pm, the doors were still closed, and the line on Pier 25 went down the length of the pier. Ahead of me was a young couple. As we listened to the soundcheck happening on the next pier the guy told his girlfriend that it shouldn’t take this long because a soundcheck is just one, two, do, do, do. I bit my tongue but I wanted to tell him that is a mic check. A soundcheck is when you actually listen to the band play so you can hear how it sounds.
On line I could watch the beach volleyball and look at the old docked ship.
About 5:30pm they started letting us in and there was a beer stand, taco truck that wasn’t open yet, a beer stand, a grilled cheese truck, a beer stand, an Asian hot dog truck, and oh look – another beer stand. City Winery also had one stand. I got an Asian hot dog (beef dog, with Chinese pork belly, cucumber, and scallion). I sat down on the ground in front of the sound booth and made myself comfortable.
Soon it started raining and I guess backstage they were reading the weather report because The Hold Steady decided not to come out until the rain had just about stopped. This was the band I was really there to see so if the rain started up again, I was ready to go home. My poncho has been put to good use this year.
The rain did let up enough so that the umbrellas came down. We heard a great set – about an hour. They played a couple of new songs (they’re working on an album in Nashville). Craig Finn (lead singer) was as animated as ever singing story songs that included “Constructive Summer,” “The Swish” (the song with the Led Zeppelin rhythm), the song he always introduces as the song about horses was sung after a new song called “Wild West,” “Rock Problems,” “You Can Make Him Like You,” “Sequestered in Memphis,” “Southtown Girls,” and they ended their set with “Stay Positive.”
Patrick Stickles, lead singer for Titus Andronicus, was celebrating his 28th birthday and Finn invited him out to sing a song. I’ve never liked Titus – they’re one of those bands that a lot of the artists I like, like them so I keep thinking I’m missing something. Stickles yelled for about five minutes and then left the stage. I really don’t think I’m missing anything.
The rest of the band is Bobby Drake (drums), Tad Kubler (lead guitar), Galen Polivka (bass), and Steve Selvidge (rhythm guitar). The band sounded great and they had a lot of the crowd singing along.
During the break I wandered over to the taco truck and got a drunken steak taco and a chipotle chicken taco. All the food I had was very good.
The sun tried to break out but it was also setting so we weren’t going to see it for long anyway.
By the time The Gaslight Anthem came on the rain had started back up.
I had seen them last year at the Orion Festival and I had enjoyed them. After the first song the lead singer sang the chorus for “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” and had the audience join in. I listened to about five songs and just couldn’t stand in the rain anymore. I did stand way behind the booth, where the sound was still very good.
And walking out I was standing between the two piers looking out towards New Jersey. Just far enough from the crowd and loud music to enjoy the water and the view but still hear the music.
By Carene Lydia Lopez