Cold War Kids @ Cincinnati – 7.22.06

For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I went into a concert with no expectations. Sure, I’d heard Cold War Kids and Sound Team, and had even been told by a reliable source that the Kids put on an amazing live show–but the truth is that I just hadn’t had time to think about the show on Saturday night, let alone surmise what might lie in wait for me across the river.

MP3: Cold War Kids – We Used To Vacation

Now, saying that a band are “good live” is a bit of a weird thing to toss out these days. What does that mean, anyway? Do they move you emotionally, like Sigur Ros might, or do they just finish their set with little to no mistakes? Still, Cold War Kids Are–as much as I hate to put it this way–“good live.” Now let me explain.

If you had seen the venue on Saturday, you might have laughed as I did. The bands were in a tiny corner of a bar, competing with UFC and Futurama on the projection screen TV. But for the entirity of Cold War Kids’ set, it wouldn’t have mattered if they were playing in a back alley dump–we were transfixed. Not since I had seen Q and Not U had I felt that I was a part of something so funky and so powerful.

MP3: Cold War Kids – Hang Me Up To Dry

But it was the little things that won me over more than anything. Their bassist’s half-twisting dance he did when he was really feeling the music. The ever-so-precise way that they used drumsticks on beer bottles on “Saint John.” The way their lead singer pounded the keys on “We Used To Vacation” like he was massaging the tension out of it. They were like specialists. Guys who might not have been the most skilled musicians, or the most talented singers, but who knew what makes a “good show” honestly good.

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