This band's music sounds like it was made for a TV commercial for a beer or mall retailer, and consists of little more than imitations and quotations from the "classic rock" repertoire, the worst of which is the smarmy, formulaic Bruce Springsteen schtick, but on the bright side the band uses very polished production techniques to make the best sounding version of their chosen form of rock and roll drivel. Recommended to alcoholics and regular TV viewers.
The Hold Steady are just as awesome live as I thought they would be. I put up some pictures and my thoughts from their recent show at the Toronto Urban Roots Festival on my blog, one in ten words. http://www.oneintenwords.com/2013/07/turf-hold-steady.html
They really need to find a new pianist. If you compare the sans-Franz versions of Stuck Between Stations or Lord, I'm Discouraged with the originals it's glaringly obvious. That keyboard was part of the magic
I don't think they've been really looking to replace Franz. Right after he quit they had Dan Neustadt from World/Inferno go on tour with them but that was three years ago now. They added Steve at second guitar and everything I've heard in interviews makes it sound like they're sticking with the three guitar lineup for the forseeable future.
This is without a doubt my favorite band of the last 5 years. I got a chance to see them last summer but was disappointed they didn't have a replacement yet for Franz. There were a couple of awkward moments where everything cuts out and I had to picture the keys parts in my head.