Cold War Kids | 12.07 | Chicago

Words by: Pat Knibbs

Cold War Kids :: 12.07.07 :: Metro :: Chicago, IL

Cold War Kids by Matt Booy
More often than not, hype or "buzz" - in regards to music - can lead to preconceived expectations and disappointment when these expectations aren't met. Such was the case during the Cold War Kids recent stomp through Chicago. Maybe it was the brisk December night that kept band and audience limp; the Kids do reside in California and this was a typical Chicago winter evening. Or maybe it was the nearly two hours of opening acts and poetry readings, but whatever the reason, the band and the audience were not on the same page for the majority of the night.

Numerous mediocre versions of songs off their excellent debut Robbers and Cowards also plagued the evening. Their minimalist approach, which worked well in the studio, had an opposite effect live, exposing their gritty, fledgling musical abilities. The vintage guitars, reverb heavy amps and a slightly off kilter piano couldn't salvage songs like "We Used to Vacation," the stirring tale of an alcoholic's fight with addiction, or "Passing the Hat," a musical stab at the flaws of the Catholic Church. Both were nearly ruined by the off-beat breakdowns of drummer Matt Aveiro. And what's wrong with a guitar solo every once in a while? Or any soloing in general?

Cold War Kids
The momentum throughout the short set was sporadic and inconsistent, which was disheartening because I had read and heard nothing but positive feedback regarding their live show. Highlights were few and far between, however, a compelling version of "Hair Down" placed the spotlight on the crisp entwined vocals of Nathan Willett and Jonathan Bo Russell. Set closer "Hang Me Out To Dry" was tight, energetic and actually spurred movement from the dormant capacity crowd.

Don't get me wrong the show was not horrible, I was just expecting more. If the gig was in a college town, or even a smaller venue it would have sufficed, but this was a sold-out Friday night show at the famous Wrigleyville club the Metro (renown for the infamous Michael Jordan jersey wearing, stage diving Eddie Vedder from the "Even Flow" video). And I wasn't the only one who felt slighted. Upon exiting I overheard several people complaining about many of the same flaws I'd noticed.

This was an opportunity for The Cold War Kids to prove their ability to headline a show in a popular, thriving tour destination and they came up a little short. Perhaps it was just an off night in a bone-cold city.

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[Published on: 12/19/07]

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Woody starstar Wed 12/19/2007 06:52PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I caught the show in philly, thought is was kick ass. Maybe they had an off night? and really there not the type of band to take solos, btw.

45THDUB starstarstarstar Thu 12/20/2007 05:10AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I went to see The Cold War Kids at the 9:30 club in DC a few months back and I thought they were terrible!!! I LOVE the album, but their show (at least that night) made me wonder if they are just a band who needs to stay in the studio and not show how inept they are at playing live music. I was so upset about their poor performance too, because I had only heard great things about them. GREAT album, but terrible live band.

nuke_ticketbastard starstar Thu 12/20/2007 05:34AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

wow kind of shocked to hear such an ugly review. i was also at the philly show that Woody attended and i thought they ripped! my girl had only heard the album once or twice before and then on the drive to philly and her words were " that was not the same band as on the disc , the songs didn't sound the same , the disc is like pink floyd shit and they just rocked the fuck out of that place!" - yeah i know she doesn't get paid to review music so spare the comment on that... but the live show is so much different that may explain some of the response you felt?? maybe not .

but yeah i thought the philly show ripped from start to finish.

Woody - did you catch that sympathy for the devil tease during the jam near the end of the show?>? maybe you will give them another shot next time you get that chance Pat? for me i can't wait to see what their next album is like and i would def go see them again...

mcarroll Thu 12/20/2007 09:49AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I've only seen Cold War Kids once live, so I am by no means an authority on their live shows, but the one I saw was really good. It was at SXSW and they put out a lot of energy and the crowd responded in kind. I wouldn't go in expecting any soloing from this band since there isn't a single one on the album. Their strengths lie elsewhere.

sunnbear Thu 12/20/2007 09:54AM
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I downloaded the free EP. Didn't do it for me. Nothing special that I can hear.

bwright star Fri 12/21/2007 10:42AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

the even flow video was NOT shot at the metro and vedder doesn't wear a jordan jersey during the balcony dive. sorry.

Woody Fri 12/21/2007 02:09PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Kizzy1- No i didnt catch that, was it durring St. John? sounds really kick ass. My favorite was Robbers, with the flashlights and poetry guy. fun night all in all

knibbs Sat 12/22/2007 12:26PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Sorry "Alive" video my bad