– Mike Munoz
Hundreds of soaked students made the trek to the WOW Hall last weekend on what was a very cold and wet evening. Fans huddled around the stage, desperately seeking warmth before the Cold War Kids concert Friday night. But as lead singer Nathan Willett and the rest of the band took the stage, audience members seemed to agree that walking in the rain was a small price to pay for the show.
The Cold War Kids formed several years ago in Long Beach, California, and in 2006 they released their debut album, Robbers and Cowards. The album found mild success due to their hit single, “Hang Me Up to Dry,” which was a three and a half minute hurricane of raw vocals and a bass line you can’t help but dance to. Over the next couple of years, the band toured tirelessly throughout the US, marketing their raw, yet beautiful sound. In 2008, the Cold War Kids released their second album Loyalty to Loyalty, and since then the band has been one of the biggest names in the indie scene.
In the band’s latest recordings, it’s very easy to see just how much the Cold War Kids have evolved over the years. Early last winter, they released the EP, Behave Yourself, which contained four much more polished track that for some reason didn’t find their way onto previous albums. Songs like “Santa Ana Winds” pay homage to their hometown of Southern California, while “Audience” proves that Willett is one of the top vocalists in the genre. Earlier this year, the band released their third full length album, Mine is Yours, which has been finding regular airtime on college radio stations across the country.
As the Cold War Kids took the stage at the sold out Wow Hall, the audience seemed ready to explode in anticipation. The band kept the crowd guessing, by playing a set list that included their heavier, loud songs as well as their slower ballads. Bass player Matt Maust hopped around the stage in his Joan Jett t-shirt as Willett switched back and forth between his guitar and piano. Although the band’s set list covered songs from all of their albums, there was definitely a heavy focus on their newest recordings.
While Cold War Kids insist that they aren’t a bible thumping Christian band, some of their lyrics deal with faith and family issues. A reminder of this was when the band performed one of their earlier singles “We Used to Vacation,” which tells the story of a man struggling to deal with his alcoholism after a couple of stints at rehab. “Two weeks paid vacation / won’t heal the damage done / I need another one,” yells Willet as the crowd cheers for more. The Cold War Kids ended the concert with an encore performance of one of their first hits, “Saint John,” much to the audience’s pleasure.
“Thank you guys it’s been a lot of fun. Thank you for singing along,” said a sweaty and exhausted Willett as the band left the stage. As audience members poured out of the Wow Hall, they were met with the harsh, wet reality of their trek back home. But after watching one of the top indie bands in the nation put on a stellar performance at the peak of their career, the rain didn’t seem so bad.