[UPDATE: watch this concert on Fabchannel]

(pictures courtesy of budding pop photographer EB)

Despair and confusion. That is how my life long friend EB described her first encounter with Cold War Kids at Paradiso tonight. Rough around the edges, but fulfilling.

I have to say I agree completely. There’s something equally disturbing and exciting about Cold War Kids’ ramshackle brand of doom and gloom. It’s not often you find yourself fiercely toe tapping and head bobbing to dark tales of alcoholism, disfunctional families, isolation and anxiety, but that’s exactly what I was doing tonight.


Right at the start at the show they played the wonderfully wry We Used To vacation, followed by a string of excellent tracks from the new album, Loyalty To Loyalty. I was particularly taken with I’ve Seen Enough (immediately followed by crowd pleasing Hang Me Up To Dry, a clever two song power house to lift the middle of the show) and Dreams Old Men Dream. The latter was probably the stand out track of the night, for which I’ll gladly suffer the ear bleed it’s noisy guitar sound caused, thanks to our position near the speakers.

What I found a bit off-putting about the whole experience was Cold War Kids’ apparent preference for playing entirely in the dark or with a few measly lights on them at most. They took this to the extreme by playing Robbers in a pitch black Paradiso, except for two torches which the band members used to search the audience. Although the band seemed to get more and more into the swing of things as the gig went on, the whole lack-of-light situation created some distance between the band and the (quite passive) crowd.


However, as the main set drew to a close with the very catchy Hospital Beds, a personal favourite, both band and audience seemed to have finally warmed up to one another and the encore was very well received. The band whipped up a bit of a frenzy for the last song of the night, Saint John, using anything at hand for percussion, including a wine bottle. The choice of song was very befitting the end of a Cold War Kids concert. As Nathan willet sang “Old Saint John on death row”, it seemed some sort of warning that we’ll all face our comeuppance in the end.

The Fabchannel registration of the concert should be up very soon, but in the meantime you can make do with the first single off the new album Loyalty To Loyalty:

Cold War Kids – Something Is Not Right With Me

The setlist:

1. Every valley is not a lake
2. We used to vacation
3. Mexican dogs
4. Something is not right with me
5. Every man I fall for
6. Robbers
7. Coffee Spoon “Ok this is a brand new song that you’ve never heard before, it’s called cofee spoon.”
8. I’ve see enough
9. Hang me up to dry
10. Relief
11. Dreams old men dream
12. Welcome to the occupation
13. Quiet, please!
14. Hospital Beds
– – –
15. Loyalty to loyalty
16. Saint John