Hot Music on a Cold Night

February 1st, 2010

Cold War Kids – Terminal 5 – January 29, 2010

Cold War Kids - Terminal 5 - January 29, 2010

On one of the coldest nights the city has seen this winter, the California rockers Cold War Kids rewarded the sold-out Terminal 5 crowd for braving the weather with a stunning set. Bathed in dark purple light, the band crawled through a moody intro while four projectors flashed on square screens behind them. Simple and beautifully melodic, their music started out punchy and brimming with blue notes, which set the tone for the rest of the show. The laid-back “Audience” awoke the fans from their winter coma, while the following “Red Wine, Success!” set the groove.

Jonnie Russell’s raw guitar sound expanded all the way to the top floor of the venue, ringing out clear with nothing more than the most basic distortion. And he belted out awesome harmonies that complemented lead singer Nathan Willet’s unique voice. All the while bassist Matt Maust stumbled around the stage, leaning into his bandmates and kicking at the piano stool when Willet manned the keys. By the time they played “Hang Me Up to Dry”—the biggest single off their first album, Robbers & Cowards—the crowd was screaming with excitement, which carried through to the end of the hour-plus set.

The rest of the show featured much more percussive and fast-paced songs, like a rowdy version of “Something Is Not Right with Me,” highlighted by a horns section erratically stomping around the stage, blaring into any available microphone. Willet and his band then treated the crowd twice more: First, they finished their encore with an explosive version of crowd-favorite “We Used to Vacation.” And second, as the fans trekked back out into the cold, they were met with flyers for a free download of the entire concert they had just experienced. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood |