It’s been almost 10 years since Cold War Kids arrived on the scene, accompanied by a wave of hype and excitement, with their 2006 major label debut Robbers & Cowards. Tough competition that year when you look back; other notable releases include Black Holes and Revelations (Muse), The Crane Wife (The Decemberists), Everything All The Time (Band Of Horses), Show Your Bones (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and of course, Arctic Monkeys debut record which should be in EVERYONE’S top 10 of all time. Credit to Cold War Kids, then, to have stood the test of time, and still draw a decent crowd, 5 albums later.
Of course, as is seemingly tradition for any headline band not relying on teenage girls for a fan base, the evening doesn’t start that way. Opener Kinsey comes on stage to an extremely sparsely populated Corona Theatre, and kicks things off. Armed with an acoustic guitar, with one foot controlling a hi-hat cymbal and the other a bass drum, it’s truly a one-man band, and an impressive sight to see. Musically, it’s a very laid-back bluesy sound, and well received by everyone who made the effort to get there early.
Maudlin Strangers are up next, and certainly strive toward bigger things, picking up the moody theme of Kinsey and building on it in epic fashion. Visually, Local Natives sprang to mind; vocally, a little Glass Animals. Some minor technical difficulties hinder the intro to one song, but otherwise the set is very slick, building and building amidst dim stage lights and rumbling bass lines, until….it ends?? After only 20 minutes?? Perhaps those technical difficulties had cut a few songs from the set… Either way, everyone seems surprised to see them finish so early, and it feels a little like a missed opportunity.
All of which brings us to the main event. By the time Cold War Kids take the stage, the venue has swelled greatly. The set kicks off with Don’t Let Your Love Grow Away (From Me), with thumping drums and a dark-lit stage (par for the course this evening!), before the unmistakable intro to Hang Me Up To Dry really gets the set going. Frontman Nathan Willett leads a mass singalong culminating in the final run through the chorus without any instrumental accompaniment at all; epic stuff already, and we’re only 2 songs in.
From this point on, the set goes from strength to strength, and it’s evident that Cold War Kids have been picking up a new following with each album released, judging from the different portions of the crowd singing along to songs from the different records. The personal highlight of the night is mid-set, when newest single First is followed by the classic We Used To Vacation, then the rousing 2013 single Miracle Mile, one after the other, and you really appreciate how many great songs Cold War Kids have written. One day, that Greatest Hits record will sound fantastic.
The audience sings wholeheartedly throughout most of the set, doubtless incurring sore throats and loss of voice the next day. The main set ends with the goosebump-inducing Hospital Beds (seriously, actual goosebumps; not had that at a gig in a long time…), and then a furious Something Is Not Right With Me, and another 4-minute party erupts. A laid-back 2-song encore follows, and as if Montreal couldn’t love Cold War Kids any more right now, bass player Matt Maust comes out sporting an Expo’s shirt; nice move! Two songs later, and after an 80-minute show in all, it’s over. Although they don’t come with the hype and fanfare they probably did in 2006, tonight Cold War Kids proved they are still just as relevant, if not more so, having consistently delivered for 5 records now. At the outset of the show, the band apologized that it’s been so long since they last came to Montreal. Judging by the crowd response tonight, all is forgiven.
Don’t Let Your Love Grow Away (From Me)
Hang Me Up To Dry
One Song At A Time
All This Could Be Yours
We Used To Vacation
Cold Toes On The Cold Floor
Every Man I Fall For
Something Is Not Right With Me
Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Steve Gerrard