Cold War Kids – Live

Cold War Kids finally got to headline again....
Cold War Kids : Live
Cold War Kids : Live

Back in the before-times of 2019 (which is now five years ago?!?), Cold War Kids put New Age Norms 1 (QRO review), the first of a planned three-part release of short albums. But we all know what happened next, and while they were able to do some livestreams during the COVID lockdown (QRO livestream review), they couldn’t really tour New Age Norms 2 (QRO review) and 3 (QRO review). And when playing live was again possible, the band did two opening tours, for Kings of Leon in 2021 (QRO live review) and Tears For Fears last year. Only now, after putting out Cold War Kids (QRO review), have they finally gotten to headline, playing two nights at New York’s Webster Hall, starting on Friday, March 1st.

Of course, it’s not like Cold War Kids haven’t headlined before, haven’t played Webster Hall (QRO venue review) before, as frontman Nathan Willett (QRO interview on this tour) remarked, noting that the band is coming up on their 20th anniversary. “Some of you came along, some of you brought your kids along…” Indeed, the audience was rather alt-rock diverse, from hipsters to sorority graduates, because Cold War Kids’ music has long had a wide reach.

Cold War Kids

On this night and on this tour, the new self-titled album has naturally been given the biggest share of the set list, such as early with the one-two of the heartfelt “Stray” and rocking “Double Life” (QRO review). But all the New Age Norms needed their moment in the sun, from 2 to start the night with the funky “You Already Know” to 3’s “What You Say”. They fit in the brand-new heartfelt “Heaven In Your Hands”, Willett noting how great it was to finally be able to release a song and play it live right after. Yet even with all that new material that had never been able to shine on the road before now, Cold War Kids didn’t skimp on not just the old tracks, but in between. There was “So Tied Up” early on from 2017’s L.A. Divine (QRO review), “First” into the encore break off of 2014’s Hold My Home (QRO review), a loud “Louder Than Ever” from 2011’s Mine Is Yours (QRO review), and the whole evening closed with “Something Is Not Right With Me”, the killer single off of 2006’s Loyalty to Loyalty (QRO review).

Cold War Kids

But we all first got to know Cold War Kids with their breakthrough debut LP, 2006’s Robbers & Cowards. That album’s indie soul-blues has totally stood the test of time – so much so that it’s always threatened to overshadow everything they’ve done afterwards. Interestingly, the band refrained from playing Robbers for the first half (instead of “Audience of One”, it was “Audience” from 2010’s Behave Yourself EPQRO review). But that meant that they could stock up on the oldies in the back half, going from “Hang Me Up To Dry” to “Saint John”, plus that “We Used To Vacation” and “Hospital Beds”. Yes, they had the most sing-alongs of the night – but “Hang” at least has been back in the popular consciousness, having been used to soundtrack a notorious scene in the notorious Saltburn (Willett described it, just in case you hadn’t seen the movie…).

Nathan Willett

Before “Hospital Beds”, Willett noted that the last time they were in NYC, last summer with Tear For Fears at Madison Square Garden (QRO venue review), their crewman and sound engineer Ryan Murgatroyd passed away that day, from injuries sustained from a tragic accident. It was as somber and heartfelt as one could imagine, Willett seated as his stand-up piano, remembering this late friend.

COVID is long gone, but the hangover still remains, from inflation (such as drink prices as Webster Hall…) to acts only now getting to showcase live all that they released during the dark times. But the times are light again, we can go to shows again, we can even go into the pit again (as Willett did during the encore return “Love Is Mystical”, shaking hands like the CDC just don’t care…), and we can catch the Cold War Kids again.

Cold War Kids

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