So I got this, and immediately fell in love with a song they reference Tampa's beloved Ybor City in. No one I knew listened to these guys, and they were kind of like my special thing.
Then they released Boys and Girls in America and blew up ... or so I thought. They were in freaking Rolling Stone. Then I saw them at Langerado. What was great is that the vocals weren't on for the first couple songs on Mr. Finn had no idea. He kept belting out the lyrics while flailing about his arms like everything was just fine. Certainly they kicked in a couple songs later and it was a great show, but it was weird. Even weirder that he had to get a beer from the same place I was getting beer at and I met him. And naturally, all I could muster was the awkward, "Thanks for coming to Tampa, good bands usually don't" which I guess was much better than when I met Jeff Tweedy and could only say, "Great show man!"
It may have been 2008 when they came to Ybor City, in what was the loudest concert experience of my life aside from maybe a couple Toast shows, or when I saw Motley Crue and was deaf for a week. Highlight of that show was a buddy of mine passed out standing up in the middle of the concert. I still have no idea how that was possible, but it happened. I was there.
After that show, I got really sick of them though, and they haven't been the same since. They released another album which I didn't really like and I saw them one more time. Sure, it was a good enough show ... for free ... but, and I hate to say this because it's only partially true ... if you've heard one Hold Steady song, you've heard them all.