Cold War Kids shared a special moment with a sold-out crowd at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio April 9.It’s not a band, which interacts much with the audience. But the crowd was prepared to be wowed by their heroes. And the fans were rewarded for their devotion. Cold War Kids rock hard. “Mexican Dogs,” the second song, was where the they started to cut loose.
Nathan Willett put on a good show whether he was singing vocals sans instrument, playing guitar, sitting at the piano or shaking the maracas. The new album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, was well represented in the set, which took a little more than an hour. Among the new songs, “Miracle Mile” was the biggest hit with the crowd. The band was entertaining throughout the night, moving about the stage effortlessly.
“I’ve Seen Enough” showed off the band’s ability to change tempos. There was enough hard rock to keep the festive mood going. The background vocals called to mind the early Clash. “Royal Blue” further showcased the band’s diversity as they took on a country sound. And the mainly college-age crowd ate it up. There weren’t much in the way of theatrics from the band. There wasn’t any humor exhibited. But you couldn’t tell the fans it wasn’t a fun evening.
The energy of the band never wavered. They weren’t performing for an “Audience of One,” but the song was well received by the masses. It was a good move to feature new songs, since the latest album is solid. “Loner Phase” rocked hard. And it set the stage for the highlight of the night. The powerhouse “Hang Me Up To Dry” ignited the crowd into a sing along. As good as the extended guitar playing was it was anti-climactic after the united front the fans displayed in their devotion to rock ‘n’ roll.
The event wasn’t without snags. It sounded like the bass was turned up a little too much on “Louder Than Ever.” But the song still delighted the crowd. The band had played dutifully for the faithful. But there was a demand for more. And the encore featured “We Used To Vacation.” The melancholy message didn’t seem to dampen the mood.It all ended with “Something Is Not Right With Me.” The piano playing on the song calls to mind Bachman Turner Overdrive. The singing calls to mind David Byrne of the Talking Heads.
The showmanship wasn’t quite the level of Byrne in the great movie Stop Making Sense. Still the entertainment value was high. Maybe the band could have more fun. But the music is a springboard for the release the music provides to so many. And the chance to escape was not wasted.
Houses opened. They performed a set, which lasted about 30 minutes. The songs were laid back and long. But they were well aware the crowd was holding back its excitement waiting for the main event. The warm-up act made the wait worthwhile on its final number alone with a subtlety, which was enhanced by a beautiful melody.