The Hold Steady Olympic Plaza, Calgary AB June 23

The Hold Steady Olympic Plaza, Calgary AB June 23
One thing about playing outdoors in a rainstorm: you know the people who stick it out are dedicated fans. This was the case at the Hold Steady's main stage performance at Calgary's Olympic Plaza, which coincided with an absolute street-flooding deluge, not to mention some not-to-be-missed shows scheduled later in the evening (and, thankfully, indoors). To say that the rain couldn't put a damper on the spirit of the band and crowd wouldn't be entirely true -- the recessed floor of the plaza was awash in about three inches (that's 7.62 cm) of water, and things got pretty soggy by the end. But those who stuck it out -- and there were a surprising amount of them -- knew every word to the deep cuts, as well as to hits like "Sequestered in Memphis." The Hold Steady has that anthemic quality that makes people think it might be a good idea to stand around in ankle deep water, reverently head-banging and shouting along. And maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all, even though our shoes were making that watery squelching noise as we trudged off to whatever Sled venue was next on the agenda.