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Steel Train pulls out all the stops at Chop Suey
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Steel Train pulls out all the stops at Chop Suey

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Steel Train
April 9
Chop Suey


Jack Antonoff, frontman of the indie rock band Steel Train, writes music as a way to relate to other people. 'I'm in love with performing,' he told me backstage at Chop Suey shortly before the band took to the stage and delivered one of the best rock performances I've ever seen.

Not only are the boys of Steel Train easy on the eyes, but these guys are the real deal; the band is musically talented, with most of the five members playing more than one instrument and backing up Jack on vocals. Lyrically speaking, it doesn't get much better than Antonoff. In other words, Steel Train sounds great, looks good, and has the substance that is, quite frankly, missing from most mainstream bands these days.

On April 9, Steel Train performed a solid show at Chop Suey. In all honesty, the venue was perfect for true fans because it provided the intimate setting that loyal listeners crave.

After announcing to the audience, "We're Steel Train. We are from New Jersey," the band performed a majority of the songs from 2007's Trampoline. The show was jam-packed with recognizable fan favorites. Songs like "Firecracker," "Black Eye," and the epic "Alone on the Sea" were well received by the audience, who could be heard singing along to every song in the set.

Like most songwriters, Antonoff pens from personal experience. As a nod to fellow Jersey boy Bruce Springsteen, the band covered The Boss' "Dancing in the Dark." The band also did an amazing cover of The Band's "The Weight."

Standout performances of the night included "Kill Monsters in the Rain" and "Dakota," a song that references a drag queen.

Steel Train ended the show with a raucous version of "I Feel Strange," a band and fan favorite alike.

Steel Train gave it all they had at Friday's show. Watching Antonoff perform is inspiring; it is obvious he feels every note and believes every word he sings. Bassist Evan Winiker seems the perfect sidekick for Antonoff onstage, and the two rockers seem to work off each other effortlessly. Guitarist Daniel Silbert is super-cute, and besides his obvious talents as a guitarist, lends great backup vocals. I was very impressed with drummer Jon Shiffman, whose rhythmic pounding was a delight. Lastly, each time I've seen the band play, pianist and backup vocalist Justin Huey is on point and really adds so much to the dynamic sound that is Steel Train.

After the show, the band took time to meet with fans, sign autographs, and take photos.

"Touring is really important for us," Antonoff told SGN. He says the band has toured with Tegan and Sara, Ben Folds, The Fray, Silversun Pickups, and the Format, to name a few.

Antonoff said that touring with Tegan and Sara was a great experience. "It was amazing to see the energy and loyal fanbase that exists within the Gay community." Although Antonoff says the band does not distinguish any types of fans as being more important than the other, he did say, "I do think it's great to know that we have a following in the Gay community."

"We don't get the chance to come up to Seattle that much, but it is something that we want to change," he said. The band is set to release their third studio album, Twilight Tales, this June, and is looking to add Seattle to the tour roster.

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