Words by: Pat Knibbs
Cold War Kids :: 12.07.07 :: Metro :: Chicago, IL
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.
| Cold War Kids by Matt Booy|
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?
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.
| Cold War Kids|
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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