Cold War Kids: A Mixed Review

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to see one of my all time favourite bands, Cold War Kids (CWK), perform live for the first time.  I have been a fan of their since the release of Robbers and Cowards in 2006.  I have always enjoyed a different kind of sound, and lead singer, Nathan Willett‘s voice is definitely unique. It was the sound of his voice that drew me in and kept me coming back. The downside to a sound like that is that it tends to trigger a “cilantro” reaction. People either love or hate it. There is no in-between.  The issue with some bands is that people hear a popular song on the radio and they jump on the bandwagon, and then when they hear the rest of the album are quick to jump off.  I’ve noticed that this is very much the case with CWK.

The show at the Phoenix Concert Theatre was full, and the opening band HIGHS, did a great job getting the crowd excited. They are a band out of Toronto and while their stage performance could use a little fine tuning, they have a good sound and I think they will go far.

CWKs hit the stage with a big opening, launching into some of their bigger singles and my favourite songs up front. From their 2014 album Hold My Home they played All This Could Be Yours,  from Dear Miss Lonelyhearts they played Miracle Mile and Loner Phase.  They followed that up with one of the their best singles from Robbers and Cowards We Used to Vacation.  To me, this was an amazing start and it quickly got the crowd excited.

I had heard mixed reviews of their stage performance and was bracing myself to not see the best show of my life. But I do really like them as a band, and they are one of the few I previously hadn’t had the opportunity to see. Especially with the addition of former Modest Mouse guitarist Dann Gallucci, who attributed to the creation of Miracle Mile, which I feel is their best album.  However, after their initial introduction they delved into some lesser known songs and the crowd quickly became restless, and in some cases, bored.

Overall, the show was energetic and fun and CWK were having a great time on stage. Something I did notice, was that more than a few people left throughout the set. A guy who was clearly on a date standing in front of me, at one point leaned over to his date, said something which I can only assume was along the lines of “I can’t.” and promptly left, leaving his date with her friends, bewildered.

Even my other friends who attended the show had mixed reviews, saying that they didn’t really feel it. One of the major downfalls of the band, besides Loyalty to Loyalty (which I can only claim to like one song off of) is that they are a bit hit and miss, even for a devote fan like me. While I listen to Lonelyhearts repeatedly even now, many of their albums have songs I love, and songs I hate. They don’t have much of a middle ground. Since the show I have polled several of my friends and it is the same consensus. It makes me curious to see their next moves and if they will continue to grow as a band and how far their momentum will take them.

That being said, despite the mixed reviews from others, I enjoyed the show. I really like the new album and doubt I will tire of Willet’s voice any time soon.



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