Throwback Concert: Cold War Kids

Let’s go way back to 2007.

I was a college freshman. I distinct remember sitting in my dorm between classes with my tiny TV on MTVu (side note: this channel was fantastic for showing indie music but I’m sure it has significantly changed in 10 years). Suddenly I hear this beautiful guitar and shortly thereafter Nathan Willett’s soulful voice. I stopped whatever I was doing and was entranced by “Hang Me Up to Dry.” Their sound was so different than what I had typically listened to at the time and that same day I bought a copy of “Robbers and Cowards.” I’m surprised that CD didn’t melt as much as I played it. When Nathan sings, he has one of those voices and styles where you feel it. You feel the emotion in each word, almost like electricity going through your veins. I’ll go into the particulars of their albums later, but I have been an avid listener for years and would almost give anything to see them in concert.

Fate is funny.

It took 10 years of near-misses and heartbreaks before I was finally able to see them play live. Ironically it was a free show. The college football championship held a 3-day concert event and I nearly choked on my breakfast when I saw the lineup.

Cold War Kids. And some guy name Usher.

There were a bunch of other bands too but who cares, I was there for Cold War Kids.

Their set was tight and I could not believe my life in that moment. I had waited 10 years to see these guys and was literally shaking. Part of it was from the cold, the other part was excitement. I was in the front row. Cold War Kids opened strong with “Two Weeks Vacation,” closed with “Something is not Right with Me” and played many favorites in between (e.g., “All This Could Be Yours,” “I’ve Seen Enough,” “Louder Than Ever” “Audience.”) I cried during “Hospital Beds” and “Miracle Mile.” Like bawled. I was overcome with emotion about finally seeing this band and being so close to them while they sang part of the soundtrack to my life for the last 10 years. I’m feeling emotional just recounting this. I’m glad they did not play “Lost That Easy” because I would have lost my damn mind. When I listen to that song it is so emotionally charged and the way Nathan sings it…whoo!

Anyway, their set was intense and deeply satisfying and I felt a bit special when Nathan pointed to our side of the crowd and said he was happy there were people who knew their songs. There were a couple of people nearby who were acting like assholes by being obnoxious, but that didn’t distract from Nathan’s beautifully warbly voice. The biggest surprise may have been them playing “Mexican Dogs” and “Relief.” Not sure why, but I was happily thrilled. Cold War Kids played their big song “First” and played some newer songs. I’m looking forward to their new album. I froze my ass that night at the show (my fingers began going numb in the middle of their set) but it was completely worth it.

After getting married this was probably the greatest experience of my life.


Where it Started: Hang Me Up to Dry

Photo cred: Nan Palmero




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