Cold War Kids heat up the Fine Line
Cold War Kids
Fine Line Music Cafe, October 10
By Desiree Weber
It’s a rare band that can execute twangy indie rock and still make the crowd swoon when the chords get louder and the tempo slows down. The Cold War Kids are just that kind of band. Headed by lead singer Nathan Willett, this quartet of dudes hails from Fullerton, CA, and they stopped in at the Fine Line in support of their just-released album, Loyalty to Loyalty.
The usual crowd packed into the Fine Line for a sold-out show: twentysomething yuppies, college kids and the occasional (brave soul) over thirty. Kids of the Cold War, one and all. Rumor has it they were all there to check out bassist Matt Maust – even the boys.
But speaking of crowd-pleasers, the band opened its set with a tune off their new album and followed up with their hit “We Used to Vacation.” That move, coming earlier than some expected, got the crowd into the Cold War Kids’ heartfelt, sing-along chorus about an alcoholic dad vowing never to have a drink again just as he is tempted to do just that. Songs like that one highlight a CWK strength: changing up the tempo and drawing out their delivery, resulting in pop tunes that are still engaging the second time around.
Much to their credit, the band kept the set light-hearted and the crowd engaged, even when Willett mourned the foolishness of love in “Every Man I Fall For.” Killing the stage lights and playing by flashlight seems to do the trick as well. At times, the CWK landed themselves in mid-career U2 territory with their predictable chord progressions and drum/guitar sets. And while instances like that can come off as bombastic, when it works, it brings a certain sense of grandeur to their indie rock creations.
If you’re trying to figure out what they sound like, the CWK have been compared to everyone from Jeff Buckley to the White Stripes. The mix of influences is purposefully eclectic, which means there’s really something for everyone. If nothing else, the band plays their heart out and it’s up to you to respond in kind.
1. Every Valley is not a Lake
2. We Used to Vacation
3. Mexican Dogs
4. Something is Not right with me
5. Every Man I Fall For
7. Coffee Spoon
8. I’ve seen enough
9. Hang me out to dry
11. Dreams Old Men Dream
12. Welcome to the Occupation
13. Family Tree
14. Hospital Beds
1. Against Privacy
2. St. John