Cold War Kids Bring The Hits, New Songs, And Rihanna
It was a rainy Tuesday in Atlanta and L.A. indie rockers Cold War Kids were the guests of honor at the nearly sold-out Tabernacle. With little chatter between songs, they played a plethora of tunes both new and old, along with an interesting Rihanna cover.
As I made my way into the crowd, they wasted no time taking the stage and getting right into their 2014 single "All This Could Be Yours."
Armed with multiple instruments, including maracas, tambourine, electric guitar, and what looked like an old, vintage-styled piano, singer Nathan Willett brings his soul to the forefront of every song. Their fifth show on a busy spring tour, these guys kept the energy up the whole 90 minutes.
Getting most of their well-known songs out of the way early, the smooth bassline from longtime bandmate Matt Maust that is the backbone of their 2006 single "Hang Me Up to Dry" gets the sizable crowd moving. After delving into the opening track from their debut album, "Robbers & Cowards" with "We Used to Vacation," Nathan gets behind the piano, playing a new song titled "Can We Hang On" from their upcoming album L.A. Divine.
After that, they played their latest single "Love Is Mystical," with a huge chorus and a driving keyboard riff from multi-instrumentalist Matthew Schwartz. It should be noted that the most energetic performance of the night came not from their frontman, but from Matthew. It really is a blast watching him dance around behind the keyboard, banging on the crash cymbal with his maracas with a huge smile on his face. Dude has so much enthusiasm.
I can only imagine how singer Nathan and lead guitar player David Quon were able to perform wearing long sleeve shirts. It must have been sweltering up there on stage but they never once seemed faltered by it, getting the crowd to sing along and participate in nearly every song. It was a nice treat watching Nathan move around the stage and sing his heart out during "Saint John" in his unique, bluesy style. Their drummer Joe Plummer is also definitely worth mentioning, never missing a beat throughout the show with his simple yet effective drum setup.
Leaving very little room for filler, they blew through some more cuts including oldie "Hospital Beds" and another new one, "So Tied Up," before breaking into popular 2014 single "First." The crowd reacted with pure joy. With shiny guitar riffs and catchy hooks in tow, it was the highlight of the night. After leaving the stage and coming back for an encore, they delivered yet another older cut with "Mexican Dogs." The setlist went over almost every album in their 13-year career.
To everyone's surprise, Cold War Kids graced the crowd with a cover of Rihanna's 2016 single "Love on the Brain." They complemented the song with their strong rock instrumentation, bringing the song into a '90s power ballad territory.
The band closed the set out with the 2008 single "Something is Not Right With Me." It was great watching keyboardist Matthew jump around the stage, with singer Nathan and guitarist David sharing some rockin' guitar licks. It was a strong finish and left the crowd with a positive impression.
Overall, I would say that whether you're a fan of their music or not, Cold War Kids know how to put on an engaging show that anyone can find enjoyment in. You can see their remaining tour dates and purchase tickets here.
Photos by Sarah Htun for Bullet Music