Cold War Kids - Shepherd's Bush Empire, 16th May 2011
I came to the party late with Cold War Kids. I knew of them but didn't pay attention until they released the song Audience from the Behave Yourself E.P. in 2010. That track was probably my favourite individual song from that year. It's also my default 'sing at the top of your voice in the shower' song. I didn't manage to see them on their recent Australian tour (huge mistake considering how strong the latest album is) and I also missed out on a London show that took place soon after I'd arrived because I didn't know about it until after it had sold out. I got lucky and they returned for a second London show within 3 months.
In many ways they are a typical Californian rock band, but there's an undercurrent of blues and southern soul throughout their music that really appeals to me. I consider them similar to The Black Keys for that reason, but in the case of Cold War Kids, the influence is more subtle. Nathan Willett has this brilliantly strong, but surprisingly high voice. There's something about it that reminds me of female American soul singers, and it cuts right through live. There's a lot of physical contact between the band members on stage and you get the sense that there's no fakery. They're genuinely engrossed in what they're doing, feeding off each other's energy and throwing themselves into it.
It's always fun watching live rock that you can dance to. Listen to the filthy bass heavy opening of Hang Me Out To Dry and tell me it doesn't make you want to move.