Tom Dougherty Read Eric Grandy's story, " Little Big Rooms ," in the March issue of Reverb Monthly .
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Columbia City Theater Thursday, March 1
Cold War Kids
Tom Dougherty Read Eric Grandy's story, "Little Big Rooms," in the March issue of Reverb Monthly.
Columbia City Theater
Thursday, March 1
You know what the worst thing will be about Bruce Springsteen's unnaturally intimate upcoming set at Austin's South by Southwest? That everyone who can't get in -- the 99 percent -- is going to feel disappointed on a day that should be more musically satisfying than any other this year. Same goes for Paul Simon playing the Showbox. Was it great? Hell, yes. But disappointing for the majority of fans who couldn't get in. Oh, well!
With few exceptions, small shows are always better than big ones. It's a great ticket -- if you can get one. "There's a big difference when you're not miles from your favorite artist," Neumos co-owner Steven Severin told Grandy for this month's Reverb Monthly cover story, "Little Big Rooms." "You want to feel their sweat coming off of them."
Last night at the Columbia City Theater, Cold War Kids -- a band that has every right to be playing a room 10 times that size -- treated a fraction of their Seattle fans to the first of a three-night stand in one of the most beautiful rooms in town. Yet while the show was decidedly a club affair, the band had their sights set on much grander stages.
Cold War Kids teased their arena aspirations on last year's Mine Is Yours, a radio-grabbing, rafters-shooting record in which they enlisted producer Jacquire King, known for giving a leg up to recent clubs-to-arena success story Kings of Leon. That the record fell flat apparently did nothing to dampen the band's ambitious intentions. And that's a relief.
The Cold War Kids are a kinetic band onstage and on record, constantly reinterpreting their back catalog with rambunctious live shows and pushing themselves sonically in the studio. Last night's show was a testament to the fact that they haven't lost their zeal for bigger sounds and rooms. The size of the venue was a red herring.
When the Long Beach band introduced themselves to the world in 2006 with Robbers & Cowards -- still one of the best indie-rock releases of its time -- they supported the effort with a live show that mirrored the record's orchestrated chaos. A train wreck always seemed around the corner, but you never expected the onstage horseplay and tackles to permanently derail a set.
Last night was different. The band was more carefree. They hit harder. They veered further away from their script. And they teased new material that's sounded more focused than that of Mine Is Yours, but still with every intention of winning over a larger audience.
Ambition is seen as being about as cool as CWK frontman Nathan Willett's perpetually tucked-in shirt. It's refreshing that Willett and co. just couldn't care less. And if the new tunes teased last night are any indication, that attitude should be paying more positive dividends very soon.