Columbia City Theater, Seattle, WA, 3/1/12 – When I went online to get a ticket for what turned out to be an amazing Deep Sea Diver show, I noticed that the Cold War Kids were playing 3 shows in a row at my neighborhood music club – Columbia City Theater. I’m so psyched I get to say that “my neighborhood music club”. I couldn’t believe it, I’m pretty sure that the Cold War Kids (CWK) could have sold out one of the larger clubs here in Seattle like Showbox SODO had they gone that route. Some promoter could have thrown ads in the local papers and promoted it for months, but as best as I can tell, this was flying under the radar. As soon as I saw the listing I got a ticket immediately.
Thanks again to my lovely wife Nora, cause this was going to be my 4th show in about 3 weeks and the 2nd show within 3 days. But, I had to do it. I mean, CWK at a small club that holds about 150 – 200 people at most, that was going to be super cool. Or, maybe it wasn’t. Cold War Kids’ last album “Mine Is Yours” was a great album, but it was a departure from their previous two records in a direction closer to a “Kings of Leon” record. Still plenty of that bluesy, rock-hop cool at the core, but much more accessible than the early records.
I’m all for a band going more broad, as long as they can hold on to their roots. CWK did ride those two sides on that record and it was one of the better albums that came out that year. But, which CWK would show up? I was hoping for more focus on the first two records, that effortlessly cool sound from songs like “Hang Me Up To Dry” or “Something Is Not Right With Me”. A mix of “G. Love & the Special Sauce” with crunchy guitars taking the place of the hip-hop in the mix.
And that’s what they delivered. From the first song it was clear that this was going to be the “rootsy” Cold War Kids. It just seems to come so easy to them. The only sign of any kind of sell out were the posse of meatheads who drank about a key of beer between them and were doing all the drunk a-hole rock show posturing at the front of the stage.
Other than that minor distraction, this was a stellar show from start to finish. A great mix of songs from all 3 albums with a bit of a leaning towards the first two, just what you’d want. It just seems to come so easy to them. A great combination of tight playing and moving in a direction with purpose while not over thinking things. The end of the lead singer Nathan Willett’s trip to the keyboard would be obviously over when a few random bangs on the keys were made.
They did this cool thing during the song “Robbers” where all the lights were out and the lead singer put a flashlight on us, on the band, maybe robbing us of our anonymity. Neat trick. I’d say that’s what this show was, a neat trick of balancing a very good opportunity for a band at the crossroads and taking it in a very noble direction. Can’t wait to see what they do next, they have built up a lot of credit in my book, enough to allow for a few more experiments with the ample tools they have.