Monday, November 26, 2007

Cold War Kids at the Wiltern

Cold War Kids have had a banner year. In January, I saw them at Spaceland. They rocked the El Rey in February. KCRW featured them at the Sounds Eclectic evening in April. I correctly predicted they would sell out the Wiltern after seeing them at the Echoplex in June.

We Barbarians

We Barbarians opened up the show at the Wiltern and played a blistering set. I was blown away seeing their first show at the Detroit Bar. They played like seasoned veterans as Davey Quon (Vocals/Guitars) led the charge with a passionate performance leaving nothing left on stage. Derek Van Heule (Bass) was pounding his Gibson ripper bass and pacing back and forth as Nathan Warkentin (Drums) added background vocals to his clock like drumming. I correctly predicted back in September that they would have a Detroit Bar residency which will occur in February. I will definitely check out some of those shows and I suggest you do the same.

Cold War Kids

A large backdrop and sparse stage lighting set the background for the Cold War Kids. They received a hearty hometown welcoming as they gathered their instruments. The opening notes of "Tell Me In the Morning" off their debut album "Robbers & Cowards" filled the Wiltern and the show began. When bands start playing larger venues sometimes they lose the hunger and energy of playing small clubs. This was not the case as the Cold War Kids simply owned the stage with a gripping performance by Nathan Willett (Guitars/Vocals) and company. The rattlesnake shake of "We Used To Vacation" led in the rambling piano and slow played guitar lines. The stage went black except for a few spotlights for "Robbers" as the Cold War Kids pointed their lights to spotlight the crowd during the song. Jonnie Russell (Guitars) nailed the tin can hollow reverb solo portion of the song. Don't Let Your Love Grow Away (from me) from their EP "Mulberry Street" was a nice surprise. "God, Make Up Your Mind" had Nathan singing in a higher falsetto compared to the recorded version and showed that Nathan really knows how to sing. Matt Maust has switched his Rickenbacker bass for a White Fender bass as he launched into "Hang Me Up To Dry". The night was capped with performance of "Saint John" unlike any version I have witnessed before with 10 people total on stage including members of We Barbarians and the Sparrow Love Crew banging various drums, cans, and cymbals. The Cold War Kids have made a lot of good noise this year and look to continue their ruckus in 2008.

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