The beat of a song can easily instigate a certain amount of dancing
within a crowd. But this should always go hand-in-hand with the stage
presence of a band, it should never be the driving force of a show.
When Cold War Kids recently came through the area in support
of their latest album "Mine Is Yours" it felt a little as
though the band had a touch too much confidence in their sound alone.
Don't get me wrong, their sound is like none other. It was chock
full of attitude, blues-fused bass strumming and a melodic chorus
here and there. However, it seemed like we may have caught the band
mid-tour and in need of some Red Bull.
But even with the lack of energy, the set list was full of great songs.
Opening number "Royal Blue", off the new album, was a good
way to start off the evening. With an intro of a light electric guitar
swaying through, the song would eventually give away to very jam band
groove. "Mexican Dogs" is a great classic rock selection
off their album Loyalty To Loyalty. The lead vocals almost
trend on the side of an emotion-driven political speech, rather than
tone-perfect singing. But this just fits perfectly with a lead guitar
so laced with attitude you'd think it was born in the 80s with a cigarette
sticking out its mouth.
The "hit" for CWK founds its spot smack dab in the middle
of the evening. "Hang Me Up To Dry" came out on stage similar
to how "The Distance" played live for Cake - slightly
different than the rest. If this was the first song one ever heard
by the band (and that's a safe assumption), you'd think the deep bass
twangs and light airy percussion were what Cold War sounded like.
The lights on stage went red to further the sultry and ever-so-sexy
appeal emitting from that song. A few more selections down and we
came to another new song called"Bulldozer". This was a selection
that fueled the set's not-so-crazy side. With a very simple bass note
progression and the hint of a guitar ween, a bulk of the song is fairly
simplistic and border-line lullaby. Every once in a while the tempo
definitely does pick up and you're reminded they have a drummer. On
stage the song translated kinda U2-ish and very anthemic at
For an encore they threw in a few more from (what I would consider)
their most popular album, Cold War Kids. The final selection,
however, was a favorite from that album, "Saint John". Minus
"Hang Me Up To Dry" this song easily has the most recognizable
opening on the album. It's as though they felt the cymbals weren't
getting enough love the rest of the show and decided to make it up
on this selection. The tempo was sporadic and hard to pin down, but
that's the beauty of this song. This sound would be comfortable in
a seedy bar with an angry waitress and a few drunken patrons to sing
along. The best element to the 3 min and 48 seconds? Well, the piano,
of course. It pretty much only gets banged on with no better melody
than chopsticks, but it's still an important part.
Regardless of the apparent need for the band to have caught a few
extra z's, the show was still a good live representation of Cold War
Kids great music.
Cold War Kids
March 9th, 2011
Granada Theater, Lawrence, KS
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