Although Cold War Kids has been around for over a decade, many would consider the American indie rockers a remodeled, new band. Fans hit Cold War Kids with nit-picky gripes years ago, but it’s now safe to say more than ever before that they’re a well oiled, cohesive machine that’s immune to such criticism. With three fresh faces since 2013, the current quintet is just weeks away from dropping their first full-length album together in nearly three years, L.A. Divine. Now with one of the hottest tours of the spring traveling through North America with their adolescent (jokes… get it?) friends Middle Kids, Cold War Kids is ready the plant their foot in reclamation soil.
With recent appearances at the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in Reykjavik and on Conan, Middle Kids (who lead off Cold War Kids’ spring tour) is quickly becoming unforgettable despite what their nickname might suggest. The Australian trio is founded upon astounding vocals and riveting melodies that fuse creating a memorable sound. A simple search and play on Spotify or another streaming service will do the trick and induce love upon listening, but it’s the Aussie’s stage presence and flair that’s pushes them over the top.
Photos by Jared Allen
For most bands, performing in a stagnant red light is trouble-some. It’s not always the most flattering, yet Middle Kids flaunted the highlight like no other. Vocalist Hannah Joy stood front and center glistening in her sparkly red top, all while playing her candy apple red Fender upside down. Both Harry Day and Tim Fitz poured unrivaled energy into their instrumentation, blending seamlessly with Hannah’s dynamic tranquility. Song after song, Middle Kids appeared as a band that’s been in the business for much longer than a year together. However, to much of the audience’s surprise, the band is just now turning one year old and celebrated such with a grand EP.
Headliners Cold War Kids emerged to a different ambience. With the front stage lights off, each band member appeared as a silhouette to the crowd through the first three songs. This particular appearance created a cool atmosphere that only intensified the audience’s anxiousness. Once the vibrant white lights gleamed on Cold War Kids with “Hot Coals”, the crowd threw their hands in the air and the party commenced.
Photos by Jared Allen
The band rolled through an impressive 19 songs and touched upon their extensive music catalog. From “We Used To Vacation” to “Love Is Mystical”, Cold War Kids gave the audience a piece of the old and new. Cold War Kids’ chemistry was palpable and for those unfamiliar with the lineup changes that the band has endured throughout its career wouldn’t have been able to tell based upon the performance at the Fillmore in Charlotte. Nathan Willett paraded the stage like a proper front man and enticed the crowd with his tambourine-play.
There was a playfulness between band members that gave a behind the scenes look into the quintet’s chemistry that ultimately reached the pinnacle with the renowned radio track “First”. Played prior the encore, the song served as the climax that hardly dropped off once Cold War Kids returned for a proper final goodbye. And even though they’re 10 years in, it felt as if they’ve rediscovered a footing and direction in their vast careers.