Words and photos by Zachary Timm
It was a quick yet intimate show with New York favorites the Cold War Kids last night at the Mercury Lounge. While they normally could fill venues at least twice in size, the quickly sold-out show made for the type of room they sound best in. They took the stage at 11:15 and were off by 12:15. Lucky for us it was a pretty awesome hour of music mainly playing songs from their recent release Loyalty To LoyaltyRobbers & Cowards dispersed amongst the setlist.
As the guitar player and bassist sporadically paced around the stage crunching out the junkyard rock riffs of their catalog, Nate Willett’s signature soulful voice filled the air with raspy pitch perfect precision.
Stand out songs included newbies “Mexican Dogs” -- a chugging soulful rock 'n' roll song that had Willet’s passionate howl at top form. “Every Valley is Not a Lake” was a crowd pleaser with it’s duel piano/guitar driven boogie. On “ Something is Not Right With Me” Willett unleashed the mad growl and stage presence that he is so well known for. Belting out the chorus “Something is Not Right with Me!” while fervently gripping his microphone, convincing us all that there could quite possibly be something wrong with him.
Thankfully, they were able to fit in some classics from Robbers & Cowards including the phenomenal “We Used to Vacation” that had the whole crowd belting out the lyrics word for word. “Hospital Beds” was as excellent as ever and “St John”'s junkyard marching band style closed out the show with a full band chant of “Old St John on Death row, He’s just waiting for a pardon!” which was the perfect end to a short yet fulfilling show.
It was an amazing experience to see the band in such a small venue especially since they are slated to play the mammoth Terminal 5 later in March. I might have to check out the show just so I can get my full Robbers & Cowards fix, but for the time being it was a great show that reminded me why the Cold War Kids were one my favorite performances two years ago at SXSW.