Friday, March 30, 2007

Cold War Kids Leave Crowd Cold

Cold War Kids - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC - March 28, 2007

Much thanks to BaldB for sending in the review!

I kept looking around for the two way mirror last night at the 9:30 Club. I never discovered its location, but I remain positive that a couple of Downtown Records reps were eyeing me from afar. That is the only possible explanation for what took place on stage. Despite acknowledging having “never played a show this big,” Cold War Kids ripped through a set list that omitted many of the band’s better songs in favor of new material. The focus group did not go well.

The sold out show with fans up to the rafters followed only a few months after one in a backroom just blocks away at the Black Cat to about thirty people. Since then, the band has been signed and released a record combining a pair of EP’s and been on tour constantly. Unfortunately for patrons last night, the result of the time seems to be that the Kids have grown tired of their stock songs and eager to test their fresh stuff. While this is an expected and often enjoyable part of any concert, there is a fine line that needs to be tread carefully.

After garnering comparisons to any number of acts from Dylan to the White Stripes, Cold War Kids came out firing. Their affinity for percussion was immediately apparent with an onslaught of maracas, tambourines, and cymbals. At one point, 14 people filled the stage as members of the opening bands grabbed noisemakers of their own and lent their hands to a raucous version of “Saint John.” Shortly thereafter, the crowd was lost.

I am at a loss for why a band would ostracize their largest audience to date. One moment, you have hundreds of people shouting along, and the next, they are yawning in second tier. However, that is exactly what happened, and its disappointing. Cold War Kids have written some terrific stuff since their inception in 2004, and there is no doubt that they will continue to do so in the future. However, they need to learn to pick their spots on tour because their songwriting talent can actually work against them when they leave crowd favorites in the bag.

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