The documentary DVD gives an endearing glimpse at a bunch of journeymen musicians on the cusp of making it big, playing to growing crowds and taking on their first London shows. The Hold Steady have a knack for creating devoted fans – "it's rock 'n' roll salvation," one excitable bloke yells – and while the documentary occasionally verges on canonization it's a nice look at a band on the rise, with plentiful live songs from their tour (the directors have an annoying habit of not letting entire songs play out most times, though). There's an interesting subtext that most of the band are in their late 30s yet some of their biggest fans are much younger – perhaps drawn by Finn's honest songs about the confusion and the passion of life. "There's things I think at 35 are funny about being 17 that I didn't think were funny at all when I was 17," he muses at one point.
If you haven't been converted to the Hold Steady, A Positive Rage provides a nice introduction to their career. In a time when virtual is everywhere and there's a new American Idol every couple months, it's great to see a band that aspires to be something more.