Cold War Kids 4/10/17

(a) setlist

    1. Love Is Mystical
    2. Miracle Mile
    3. Can We Hang On?
    4. So Tied Up
    5. First
    6. Love On The Brain (Rihanna cover)
    7. Something Is Not Right With Me

(b) highlights

  • how great is this band, like really
  • the new songs from LA Divine are so solid, I cannot wait to hear the rest of the album, it’s unreal
  • I’m not really a fan of Rihanna, but dayummm, Nathan brought some real soul to that cover and performance of “Love On The Brain”
  • “Can We Hang On?” is honestly one of my favorite Cold War Kids tracks ever and it only just came out a month or do ago; how incredible that a band I’ve loved for over a decade can still create great work
  • the sound in the venue was fantastic; Rough Trade is solid and better than most other Brooklyn venues, in my opinion

(c) lowlights

  • wish the set could’ve been longer

(d) overall thoughts

I’ve talked about this extensively before, but Cold War Kids are probably one of the most underrated bands out there. This show was a free in-store performance at Rough Trade to promote their new album LA Divine, but it mostly worked as a sweet appetizer for a meal later on that you know is gonna be good.

I love going to one of the first shows of any band’s new album and tour, but I feel like it sets the tone for what that album and tour season will look like. The fact that so many of LA Divine‘s songs immediately pulled me in, and the crowd responded so positively to every track – I really feel like this album will be big for the band. And I feel so lucky to have witnessed that first hand, and get to watch it play-out in real time.

Although the show itself was short, the band played as if it was a full-bodied set. They were high-energy and engaged, as usual, playing into how the stage was small, the venue was small, and the crowd was packed tight. The smallness aided in the intimacy in the best way. Nathan Willett brought his soulful lyrics to life and Matt Maust killed it on his funky bass as usual. I was disappointed when the band announced sometime last year that guitarist Dann Gallucci would be leaving only to be replaced by David Quon, but I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. His guitar work on “So Tied Up” was a stand out for sure and I look forward to seeing him at future shows.

Ultimately, the best part about the show was remembering how much joy and happiness Cold War Kids’ music brings to me. The crowd was having a great time – responding positively to new and old songs alike – and everything felt so happy and joyful. I think it speaks volumes to reflect on how I used to hate “Something Is Not Right With Me” when it first came out in 2008 on Loyalty To Loyalty, and how elated and moved I was hearing just this past week. Cold War Kids are the type of band who understand the importance of storytelling and crafting a real sound that resonates with a crowd; seeing them live always reminds me of that.


Bottom line: Cold War Kids are true artists who craft not only meaningful hits with ease, but perform in such a way that you can’t help but feel connect to them. LA Divine is going to be huge for them and I cannot wait to see the success it brings.

Cold War Kids 3/20/15

(a) setlist

    1. All This Could Be Yours
    2. Miracle Mile
    3. Loner Phase
    4. We Used to Vacation
    5. Red Wine, Success!
    6. Audience
    7. First
    8. Louder Than Ever
    9. Hot Coals
    10. Hang Me Up to Dry
    11. Harold Bloom
    12. Tuxedos
    13. Drive Desperate
    14. Something Is Not Right With Me
    15. Hospital Beds


  1. Bottled Affection
  2. Well Well Well (John Lennon cover)
  3. Hold My Home
  4. Saint John

(b) highlights

  • phenomenal setlist – singles, deep cuts, whatever – these dudes get song placement
  • just the show’s atmosphere, such intimacy and a garage-band jam feel about it
  • really dig the stage production – the lighting guy needs a raise or gold star
  • watching bassist Matt Maust pluck those bass strings is an other-worldly experience
  • “Harold Bloom” is hauntingly good, that John Lennon cover, basically everything

(c) lowlights

  • the crowd was shockingly young; seeing so many under 21’s at a show like this is always off-putting to me
  • Terminal 5’s Terminal 5-ness

(d) overall thoughts

Cold War Kids are one of the few bands that I instantly loved the moment I heard them. Their debut Robbers & Cowards is one of the best albums out there and I’ll always stand by that. I was supposed to first see them open for the White Stripes (!!) back in 2007, but that tour was cancelled because of Meg White-related troubles. That resulted in me having to wait eight years to see these guys, and this show is a long, on-going case in rectifying that.

I always say that seeing Cold War Kids live is like walking in a private garage-band jam session. It feels so stupidly intimate and personal and wonderful. The guys are crawling all over the stage, never standing still and idle, frequently hitting and bumping into one another in a way that makes every performance feel so special and unique. I’ve seen them quite a few times at this point and every show has felt different. This experience in particular was one of warm camaraderie – a brotherly love connection between band and audience.

This was one of the first shows in NYC for their fifth album Hold My Home, which has since given the band well-deserved mainstream praise in the most unexpected way. Their single “First” was actually the first time they had a number one hit, which, as a fan since 2005, makes me incredibly proud and totally baffled. How had it taken everyone so long to realize their greatness? I’ll always remember how wonderful Nathan sounded, how cool Matt looked, and how chillingly special each and every song made us all feel. When you see Cold War Kids, you feel them more than anything. And that’s the best part.


Bottom line: Every Cold War Kids show is an emotional experience more than a performance, and being in the audience feels more like a privilege than anything.