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Hot-blooded soul from Cold War Kids

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If the long line snaking in front of Harlow’s on a chilly Thursday night was any indication, this city was ready to play with Cold War Kids.

Indeed it was, easily selling out the popular venue and providing a packed, electric atmosphere for the Long Beach-based band to feed its ravenous fans.

Anchored by the pounding kick of drummer Matt Aveiro and the soulful vocals of Willett, the ’Kids soldiered through a setlist that included several cuts from their first two albums, ’06’s “Robbers & Cowards” (“Red Wine, Success!” and “Hospital Beds”) and ’08’s “Loyalty to Loyalty” (“Mexican Dogs” and “Dreams Old Men Dream”), as well as ’09’s “Behave Yourself EP” (“Audience” and "Santa Ana Winds”).

The band is also using this tour to showcase tracks from upcoming album “Mine Is Yours,” due to be released in January 2011.

The new material doesn’t stray from the formula that got the ’Kids where they are now, and the new tracks sounded very strong. Songs like “Royal Blue” and “Louder than Ever” are a cocktail of the blues-inflected verses and hooky, sing-out-loud choruses the band has used to great success on songs like “Hang Me Up to Dry,” its most well-known song, which drew the biggest cheers of the night.

There lies the 'Kids strength: They strike the delicate balance between playing music that has indie-rock credibility and is also accessible for a larger mainstream audience. It seems inevitable that they'll lose some of that cred as they become more successful, but for now, all parties involved reap the rewards.

They inspire their fans too. Toward the end of the show, one overzealous female fan crawled up on the edge of the stage where Willett had just taken a seat at his piano. She engaged Willett and was apparently trying to request her favorite song. When her friends realized she was becoming a bit too comfortable clinging to the side of the piano up there and holding up the show, they had to gently pull her away.

After experiencing a raw, honest Cold War Kids live performance, it's easy to understand her fervor. 

 

Photos: Steven Chea

For info on upcoming shows from Abstract Entertainment, please click here.

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