“I feel crazy right now, sleep wise,” the quirky bassist confesses after including Nick Cave and Yeah Yeah Yeahs on his list of tour music he’s been into lately. Promoting the final album from their Downtown Records contract —a label that also houses artists like Santigold, The Drums, Gnarls Barkley, Penguin Prison, Major Lazer and Mos Def— Cold War Kids are accustomed to being surrounded by music industry innovators and up-and-comers alike. In their most vulnerable moments, however, they’re slowly learning how to be the new band that they now are, and coming to trust each other and do things that didn’t seem natural at first has all been part of the process.
“We needed to go through [this] experience with the four of us… not be in somebody else’s studio with somebody who we didn’t know,” the piano and guitar-playing lead singer explains of the group’s active rebirth and album-release culmination. Taking a bit of the upbeat Mine Is Yours sensibilities and mixing it with some darker lyrical themes and sonic experimentation, the band may have found middle-ground in its second life.
Willett’s powerful falsetto stabs Dear Miss Lonelyhearts’ anthemic, rock-leaning tracks and caresses more electro-soul-infused songs on the record, again nodding at the line between where Cold War Kids started, and where they intend to go.
Emerging as a unit Saturday night at their Webster Hall show, the band took the stage (with touring keyboardist addition Matthew Schwartz) and gave their fans a roaring glimpse of that very spectrum; Robbers & Cowards singles had the loyal crowd singing along as they intermingled with second and third album fan-favorites, EP cuts, and the newer songs. Still needing some time to marinate, “Jailbirds,” “Fear & Trembling,” and the single, of course, were received well enough to assume that fans won’t be shedding their band allegiances any time soon.
COLD WAR KIDS: WEBSTER HALL SETLIST (4/13/13)
“Saint John” / “Loner Phase” / “Mexican Dogs” / “Miracle Mile” / “I’ve Seen Enough” / “Royal Blue” / “Jailbirds” / “Audience” / “Every Man I Fall For” / “Rubidoux” / “Hang Me Up to Dry” / “Relief” / “Cold Toes On The Cold Floor” / “Louder Than Ever” / “Fear and Trembling” / “Hospital Beds”
Encore: “We Used to Vacation” / “Minimum Day” / “Something Is Not Right With Me”