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The problem with irony is that eventually it gets difficult to remember how big the gap is between what you say and what you mean. For Brooklyn’s Hold Steady, the moment when the band irrevocably becomes Loverboy comes about 10 minutes into its most recent album, Stay Positive. Guitarists Craig Finn and Tad Kubler fire off a math-rock intro that’s followed by a cheesy analog synth riff and lyrics about angels who—wait for it—aren’t what they appear. If it weren’t for the liberal use of the word “cumming,” the song would be indistinguishable from album-rock radio circa 1981. Positive plays a delicate game throughout, contrasting Finn’s smart, funny lyrics about drug casualties with the band’s studiously bone-stupid, quote-marks-necessary “rock.” You can get hung up on that or, as the Hold Steady seems to have done, embrace the “whoa-oh-ho”s and “woo-hoo”s—’cause down deep, aren’t we all just working for the weekend? THE HOLD STEADY PERFORMS WITH THE LOVED ONES AT 7 P.M. AT THE 9:30 CLUB, 815 V ST. NW. SOLD OUT. (202) 265-0930.