By the time Nathan, Dann, Matt and other Matt take the stage, two things are going through my head: 1. Stop screaming like a girl; 2. Just accept screaming like a girl. The Cold War Kids started their progression into indie rock stardom in 2004, but my groupie self hit the bandwagon in 2009. “Hang Me Out to Dry” was chewing up my MP3 player during most failed morning workouts back then, so seeing them face to face was quite the experience. I would have started running in place, but the Jag weed (an early ’90s term that I’m not entirely clear on but seems to fit) in front of me was dancing and splashing beer all over the floor. I determined not running with such haphazard indulgences was effective.
Safety hazards aside, the Kids launched into “Lost that Easy” which threw a brilliant curve ball to trendy drunk bastards as they wallowed in obscure ambient glory with echoing guitar solos till they realized this fantastic exercise in non-radio indulgence is what made this band simply … incredible. The Kids have singles, but when you see them in concert, they play all those songs you’ve said to yourself, “This is way better than the one on the radio.” Which is accurate: The band picks the set list, old white men pick the singles.
This is the band that created “Sensitive Kid,” so honesty and humility blend in a foot-tapping way that this concert hall could hardly hold; however, The Depot did its best and the former House of Blues sound system thumped pleasantly with tappings and noddings of all sorts. “Bulldozer” is a subtle metaphor for the types of emotions felt in these situations, but hearing it live added a level of hope to being run over completely and the lyrics became real in a way you could only appreciate by closing your eyes.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (their new album, released in April of this year) was the focus of the night, and while “Miracle Mile” and “Jailbirds” did their job in traditional Cold War Kids style, nothing holds a candle to “Broken Open” from their prior album, Mine is Yours. No words I can use could give this song its due. I used to sing this song to my son at night, and this night, I finally had someone sing it to me.
The euphoric kick a proper concert provides is a necessary therapy I lovingly embrace. As the Cold War Kids belted out at the end, “Bring your buckets by the dozens, bring your nieces and your cousins, come put out the fire on us,” we were properly extinguished. Salt Lake City welcomes such release. Cold War Kids, please come again soon—we love to be sung to in such ways.
Check out more of SLUG’s photos from the show here.