Published Sep 09, 2018Bands cursed with playing in the harsh late afternoon sunlight of a festival or outdoor show have a deep hole to crawl up from. That hole feels all the deeper for certain genres in particular. A major label "indie" rock band with no dramatic stage lighting or fog feels like watching a bunch of vampires with a day pass. Cold War Kids rose out of a tough time slot to give a no-nonsense, yet strong performance.
There's a bit of incongruity between the band's appearance and how they sound. Their cold war-era haircuts and style belied the impassioned nuance in their music. Rather than waste time with casual repartee, the banter between songs was austere and could have been a result of the short stage time, with the band opting to showcase the powerful, almost gospel strength vocal delivery from Nathan Willet in the way they're meant to be heard — sung hard, not spoken softly.
"Hospital Beds," from the band's first album, Robbers and Cowards, was well-placed in the middle of the set and a welcome surprise to hear live, as was closer "Something is Not Right With Me." It can be harder to reach up in the register at 6 p.m. than it is at 11 p.m. Earlier on in a tour with a later time slot and moodier venue might have set a better backdrop for Cold War Kids.