Craig Finn may look more like an accountant than a rock’n’roll frontman – but do not be fooled by appearances.
The 42-year-old, from Minnesota in the USA, is a compelling performer, famed for bringing his engrossing, dense songwriting vividly to life on stage.
Craig and his band The Hold Steady come to Sheffield for the first time on Tuesday, as part of their 10-date UK Teeth Dreams tour.
It is another feather in the cap for the City Hall Ballroom, which seems to be going from strength to strength as an emerging venue.
Teeth Dreams is the band’s sixth album, and follows a four-year hiatus between albums, which saw Finn briefly going down a solo route.
Formed in 2003, The Hold Steady first hit big with 2006’s Boys and Girls in America, and they kept up the momentum with Stay Positive.
And Craig is proud the new record is back to the band’s best, covering themes from drug addiction to religion and redemption.
He says: “After the solo album, it was like ‘OK, now I’m done with that, I’m excited to make a big rock record again’.
“I’m proud of us, that we’re on record number six and I’m over 40 and we didn’t bring in the mandolins and the string section.
“We’re back to the dual guitar attack.”
Teeth Dreams is the result of three years of intense song writing and production.
The band cite Bruce Springsteen and Jim Carroll as key influences, but Finn says his lyrics are inspired too by the sheer energy of hip-hop.