Concert Review: The Hold Steady and Cold War Kids at the Moore Building, Miami, May 21

The Hold Steady rock the second-floor stage at the Moore Building in Miami.
The Hold Steady rock the second-floor stage at the Moore Building in Miami.
Photo by Ian Witlen

Heineken Inspire Miami
With the Hold Steady, Cold War Kids, and Chad Hugo
The Moore Building, Miami
Friday, May 21, 2010

Click here to view all the photos from the event.

It's difficult to devote more than a couple of lines to the music at Heineken Inspire Miami when this concert was mostly devoted to the beer. In the expanses of the beautiful historic-meets-modern Moore Building in Miami's Design District, the three-level spectacle had kegs rolling by on hand trucks, fridges filled with bottles of Heineken and its various offshoots, Wii game stations, food stands serving paella, tacos, mini burgers and meatballs, a T-shirt screen-printing stand, and somehow only one men's bathroom. From time to time, music worked its way in, but mostly the assembled had to consider where the mobile DJ stand hanging from the ceiling would drop to the floor or if they cared to find an unobstructed view of the stage. Free beer is free beer is free beer, though.

Beauty was in the eye of the beholder, with a gorgeous, refurbished building lit up by a lot of green lettering and red stars. Aside from the bright glow of the many bars where the free suds poured, an LED display sparkled from the railings around the space's central atrium. As a result, the concert never reached a proper darkness, which would have helped center the audience's attention on the featured entertainment -- and away from the plasma screens. Directly across from the well-barracaded stage on the second level, each of the night's bands had a spot reserved for them that lit up with their names like this: Chad Hugo, Cold War Kids, and the Hold Steady.

And these acts entertained as best they could. Cold War Kids especially

had their work cut out for them after guitarist Jonathon Russell took a nasty spill, injured his hand and had to head to the

hospital. As a

three-piece, CWK pulled it together. For about three-quarters of an hour, singer Nathan

Willet's powerful voice dominated the room, spanning the band's career, including their breakout

2006 smash "Hang Me Up to Dry" and passionate set-closer "Saint John." Incidentally:

Concert Review: The Hold Steady and Cold War Kids at the Moore Building, Miami, May 21
The Hold Steady, who were probably expecting to close out the night, did not seem at home with the panes of glass for railings in front of them instead of being up close to a crowd of sweating faithfuls. Singer Craig Finn tried to get the audience clapping along in the middle of their 45-minute set, but the 20-foot balcony pedestal they were on created a disconnect that they could never entirely overcome. "Stuck Between Stations" was a highlight of their set and also indicative of the predicament of putting the world's best "bar band" in as strange setting that not even limitless beer could rectify.

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