Cold War Kids are back and better than ever.
They have always been a band that excels in a live setting. I’ve often used the word explosive to describe their performance because they seem to build up so much energy– Nathan Willett’s passionate falsetto hits like an arrow to the heart, bass player Matt Maust stalks the stage, seemingly taunting each of his band members – that I can’t imagine anyone leaving one of their shows unfazed. They are rousing performers playing soul-based music that is as much emotional catharsis as it is entertainment.
Last night at Apogee’s Berkeley Street Studio, a small group of invited guests got a preview of their forthcoming album “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts”, which was recorded in their San Pedro rehearsal space so they could capture that live magic.
They kicked off the set with the title track before launching into “Miracle Mile”, perhaps one of the best songs they’ve ever written.
It was the last track recorded for “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts”, which has a few songs that sound different than anything they’ve done before. Nathan says “Miracle Mile”, in particular, connects their “former self and future self”, musically speaking.
Another standout track was their first true slow jam, “Tuxedos”. One of the lines really grabbed me – “Love to be a stranger at a wedding. Tuxedos don’t discriminate”. It’s a simmering bluesy number that is sure to be a favorite off the new record, alongside “Loner Phase”, which got everyone dancing.
Also, worth mentioning is “Fear and Trembling”. In the first few seconds, it sounded to me like an indie rock tango of sorts, with some heavy feedback at the end for good measure.
They treated us to a gorgeous cover of Antony and the Johnsons’ “Aeon”, as well as a couple older tracks, “Audience of One”, “Relief” – which had this incredible tribal campfire moment with the entire band gathered around Matt Aveiro’s drum kit, with Nathan shaking maracas – and “Rubidoux” as the crowd-pleasing encore.
Former Modest Mouse guitarist Dann Galluci was a notable presence (especially on “Relief”) and Matthew Schwartz (of LA band Chasing Kings) did an incredible job of singing harmonies — not an easy task, considering Nathan has one of the strongest and most recognizable voices in indie rock. The band has been warming up for a big tour with some local shows and we’re thrilled they chose to spend an evening with us.
Tune in to hear the performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic on March 22.
Cold War Kids Live on KCRW Set List
Dear Miss Lonely Heart
Fear and Trembling
Audience of One