We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
If you don’t know the Hold Steady story, here’s the short version: Two-fifths of the Brooklyn-based indie-rock quintet used to be half of the fantastic Twin Cities quartet Lifter Puller. And because half of the Puller half is singer/guitarist Craig Finn—a darker, funnier, latter-day Bruce Springsteen—part of the Hold Steady story is that, well, the Hold Steady tells stories. Finn’s work isn’t quite as sympathetic as Springsteen’s—where Bruce crooned about girls and cars and maybe someday getting out of this place, Craig goes on about girls and drugs and how did I get into this mess. But he’s backed by the same sort of two-note triumphant rock that makes seediness easier to swallow. Plus, the man has the gravelly voice that music fans have come to expect from rockin’ storytellers. Finn will probably never have a “Born in the U.S.A.”—or even a “Thunder Road”—but that only makes his own story that much better. The Hold Steady plays with Swearing at Motorists and Plastic Constellations at 8:30 p.m. on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Mike Kanin)