Show Review: Cold War Kids (San Francisco)
For Fans Of: Portugal.The Man, Ra Ra Riot, Local Natives, Tokyo Police Club, HAIM, TV On The Radio
The Bay Area’s lumbersexual population was out in full force last Friday night for the Mezzanine’s sold-out Cold War Kids show in San Francisco. Located in a dark alleyway, about a block from Union Square, the Mezzanine gives off a pseudo-grunge feel, minus the grunge. The venue is longer than it is wide, with an awkward and somewhat cramped standing space, no photo pit, a quaint performance space and a “VIP” section, complete with bottle service. Basically, it’s about as close to a neo-hipster’s paradise as you can get.
Friday’s performance was a do-over show due to bad weather back on December 11th, and boy did they make up for the cancellation. The band kicked off the evening with “All This Could Be Yours” from the band’s October, 2014 release, Hold This Home. After playing a few more tracks, the band threw out older singles, “Miracle Mile” and “Louder Than Ever”, which were followed by an apology by frontman Nathan Willett for missing the originally schedule show.
The concert itself was sheer, indie-rock perfection. Willett shifted between his guitar, maracas and then keys. At times, he even appeared to be “parting the Red Sea” of fans (see below), while bassist Matt Maust tackled the aerodynamic portion of the evening – launching his bass in every direction, all while never failing to miss a chord.
While some have regarded Hold This Home‘s sound as generic, I believe you can hear a definite maturity to both Willett’s vocals as well as the instrumentation being performed on the new tracks. Cold War Kids is definitely one of those bands with a firm grasp on the need to grow and flourish, artistically, in an industry lacking sincerity.
Not so surprisingly, the boys even managed to stay loyal to their fan base by hashing out classic favorites such as “Royal Blue”, “Hospital Beds” and of course, “Hang Me Up To Dry”. Following its last song, the band exited the stage, only to return seconds later for an encore consisting of “Minimum Day” and “Something Is Not Right With Me”.
Overall, this was a solid, cultured, grit-filled performance. The only criticism I could offer is with the venue itself; the lack of walking room and photo pit mixed with an overabundance of concert-goers’ lack of comprehension of authorized viewing areas made for quite the challenge. While those aspects were mildly annoying, the Mezzanine’s staff were cordial and ready to assist patrons – and that goes a long way with me.
Cold War Kids Setlist – 01/16/2015 at the Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA
All This Could Be Yours
Louder Than Ever
I’ve Seen Enough
Hang Me Out to Dry
We Used to Vacation
Hold My Home
Something Is Not Right With Me