Cold War Kids vitalizes Amoeba Records
Amoeba Music served as Sunset Boulevardâs main polestar Tuesday night as a line of music lovers wrapped itself around the store like a boa constrictor to meet Cold War Kids for a live in-store show and signing.
Among the attendants were fans of various backgrounds, from accommodating parents, excited children, cliquish high schoolers, trendy hipsters to collegiate fans.
Brought together in the vast space of Amoebaâs music selection, the fans were packed like sardines, between colonnades of CDs and vinyl, to enjoy the release of Cold War Kidsâ new album Mine Is Yours.
Cold War Kids was welcomed to the stage by roaring applause, and began its set with âLouder Than Ever.â The song exhibited Cold War Kidsâ noted Long Beach vibe and soul-punk blend of sound, highlighted by the thick dual drumming of Matt Aveiro and a guest drummer.
Frontman Nathan Willett added quirks, tweaks and squeaks to his vocals, giving the live presentation of their set a freedom of style and personality not found in the album. During âAudience Of One,â Willett displayed his vocal virtuosity by releasing sharp falsetto howls mixed with spurts of smooth, sentimental phrases.
Front and center, Willett assumed the role of maestro, controlling the group for the entirety of the show. Aveiro and his ephemeral duet partner drummed at the back of the stage together until the guest drummer left, while guitarist Jonnie Russell and bassist Matt Maust rocked, bobbed and spun like symmetrical tops on either side of their conductor.
Cold War Kids had an exciting stage presence from start to finish, and songs like âRoyal Blueâ elicited hoots of ecstasy from the audience. In âRoyal Blue,â Aveiroâs gentle drumming mixed with the jazzy beach ambiance of Maustâs and Russellâs instruments. The song got the crowd going before Russellâs dissonant solo made everyone really let loose.
The audienceâs applause interrupted every song, and it was this audience interaction that made Amoeba an exciting venue in which to watch the show despite its small size.
Cold War Kids bridged the gaps between its set with weird jamming interludes that kept the audience guessing which song would be played next.
At one point, Willett hacked at the microphone, Aveiro grabbed a maraca and the other musicians began a thunderous, malevolent jam that segued into âCold Toes On The Cold Floor.â Evil-sounding riffs, slow chord progressions and Willettâs vocal masking highlighted this new song that seemed to deviate from the typical musical flavors of Cold War Kidsâ records.
The band thanked its listeners profusely for coming out and supporting them, and stated that their new album is a bit of an experiment. It is the most labor-intensive work they have put out, as evidenced by a few of their new songs.
One such new track, âSensitive Kid,â bounced to and fro between vibes and styles as Willett alternated between his idiosyncratic, pseudo-yelling vocals, bleakly expressive singing and slow, paced-out scatting. The other musicians worked in collusion to send the spectators through a pulsing world of sound to a sparkly, tinkling destination.
Willett proceeded to impress and rouse the audience as he amped up his keys for their new song âBulldozer.â He sang with falsetto jerks while showing off his multi-faceted talents with piano chords and arpeggios. âBulldozerâ contains a teasing pause in the middle of the song that soothes like a lullaby before quickly relapsing back into the eponymous character of the song.
After another âThank you,â Willett slammed his hands on his keyboard to start the finale of the bandâs set, âWe Used To Vacation.â All of Amoeba bobbed, swayed and smacked its hands, almost in synergy.
Willettâs piano parts screeched throughout Amoeba like skidding cars, while Maust, Russell and Aveiro thrashed their instruments. The concert came to a chaotic close as their ferocious sounds meshed to form one destructive onslaught of reverb and noise.
The melting pot of Cold War Kids fans filtered through Amoebaâs aisles applauding the quartetâs performance and newest creation.