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You Can’t Stop This Train

June 23rd, 2010

Steel Train – Mercury Lounge – June 22, 2010

Steel Train - Mercury Lounge - June 22, 2010
The early show can be a tough draw in Manhattan, proving a constant battle with post-work plans. During the opening set at Mercury Lounge last night it appeared that happy hours and dinner reservations had won this round. But when the lights faded and “Tomorrow” (from the musical Annie) came through the speakers, a typically large Mercury Lounge crowd materialized, spilling out into the bar as Steel Train took the stage.

The band kicked off a tour (which will conclude with a headlining gig at The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday, July 22nd) in support of their new self-titled album, out next week. They focused on showcasing their new material, some old fun and that beginning-of-a-tour energy and joy. Early on they worked in the Arcade Fire-esque “Bullet,” the first track off the upcoming disc, contrasting it with the jaunty “Firecracker” off their previous release, Trampoline.

Adorned in his typical white shirt and blue jeans and playing his red guitar, lead singer Jack Antonoff echoed Bruce Springsteen better than most New Jersey bands that actually try hard to do so. His voice, strong on its own, grew larger when each band member lent his own for those power-shout moments made popular by the E Street Band. By the end of the set, Steel Train’s big sound had Mercury Lounge bursting at its seams. And as fun as packed, intimate shows can be, this band will be a spectacle when they return in July to The Bowery Ballroom. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com