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Thursday, May 24, 2007

We're all cold war kids



It is absolutely shameful how long it's taken me to blog about Cold War Kids' excellent show at ULU on 5th May. When I read a review of their 21st May Koko gig I realised I'd gotten too far behind with this whole thing. On a personal note, I am now finished my finals at UCL and am very excited about flying off to New York and Montreal for a month of discovery...in 4 full days, wow. I'll be seeing the Pipettes, the Long Blondes, Bright Eyes, CSS, maybe the Horrors, maybe Keren Ann, maybe Au Revoir Simone, maybe Loney Dear!

Cold War Kids though. I hadn't known what to expect. Their tour sold out in a matter of days, but then there were hundreds of surplus tickets floating around on eBay. Five minutes before doors were supposed to open at their first "proper" headline London show and only a small group of non-plussed attendees had gathered; sure, there was a big football match on, but this was strange. No bands came on until 9pm and the first support act came in the form of Derrick Brown, a poet, reading his involving, funny and then suddenly touchingly bittersweet writings to the growing crowd. He came on again, just before Cold War Kids took to the stage and prove the most warming of warm-up acts. People booking dire and derivitive support acts take note: this is much better.

There remained a slightly staid atmosphere in the venue and my feelings during the first few songs were mixed. CWK's stage show was very Californian, based on all the Californian bands I used to watch live; lots of motion, lots of skulking around stage, lots of bass, lots of showmanship. When you are so used to seeing twee indie-pop or shambolic indie-rock bands, this kind of professionalism can seem disingenuous and detached from the music. But their songs are so consumingly emotional and Nathan Willet's vocals are so soulful and powerful that this culture-clash was soon over-ridden. I forgot that there were other people around me and was completely absorbed by their on-stage antics, all four members occupying their own little worlds and occasionally re-surfacing to perform a guitar dual or swap instruments.

If you are anything like me, you have probably gone in phases with Cold War Kids - I loved the album when I first heard it, then I doubted its sincerity, but since giving it a second burst, there's no turning back.

posted by Robbie de Santos at 5/24/2007 12:12:00 am

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