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Caught live: Cold War Kids - Astoria (2008)

Cold War Kids

Review by Hedley Jackson

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

A STORMING barrage of energetic, controlled chaos is one way to describe the fantastic live set of Cold War Kids.

Nathan Willett’s explosive performance involved consistently powerful vocals, whistling, guitar, keyboard and the occasional improvised percussion, while still maintaining an unflinching grasp of the awestruck audience.

They began calmly, biding their time, quietly aware of their strength before We Used To Vacation, arguably the best song from their first album, Robbers & Cowards, triggered an immense roar from the crowd.

The band showed an obvious passion for their music; flinging themselves about the stage as though possessed. Aside from the drummer, they moved around the stage and switched positions excitedly throughout the set.

Intertwining older songs with parts of their new album, Loyalty to Loyalty, it became clear that they possess a wealth of great melodies and captivating songs. The drums were a bit quiet and this muted the power of some songs, but overall the gusto and zeal that the band perspired was tangible.

Idiosyncrasies like shining torches at members of the crowd after cutting the lights and banging cymbals with maracas gave Cold War Kids an edge that other bands lack. They manage to push the boundaries with their limitless confidence and imagination, creating a vibrant atmosphere and a Radiohead-esque creativity.

Faultless instrumentation combined with the cathartic dynamism of an impassioned four-piece was a joy to behold. The chanted vocals of the encore, St John, rang around the intimate arena with an uplifting vibrancy; an apt climax to an impeccable performance.

Cold War Kids played London’s Astoria venue on November 7, 2008.