The (Cold War) Kids Are All Right

On Saturday night I went to see a show. This turned out to be a good idea for three reasons.

Reason one is that I went to the show with my friend Caille. Caille is a fantastic writer and is fabulous and is gorgeous and we don’t get to see each other nearly often enough. There’s no such thing, as far as I am aware, of a bad evening out with her.

The next thing that turned out to be good about going to the show on Saturday was unexpectedly running in to my friend Janice, who was working at the venue. Janice is cute and awesome and raven-haired and, in the course of catching up and horsing around, she also briefly squeezed my ass. On any given night, my ass is generally open to being squeezed by raven-haired cuties. It is particularly open to being squeezed by Janice.

But the real revelation Saturday, the signal reason it was a good idea to be there at that particular time and place, was the headliner, the Cold War Kids. I was immediately heartened by the goldilocks nature of the crowd. They were young, but not entirely, and hipster, but not horribly. Just right. They were an interesting looking crowd and I thought they must be the fan-base of an interesting band.

And how! As a first-time listener (Caille was the brains behind the evening’s outing, I was the muscle) I was instantly drawn in by their intensity and yet carried away by their energy. The lyrics bear careful listening to, but just in case you’re not up to it the song refrains and energy carry you away. Everywhere were echoes (I heard Van Morrison, the White Stripes and Americana, among other things) but it feels like a robust individual sensibility is fusing the disparate influences into a full-bodied whole.

In addition to being a damn fine little band, The Cold War Kids have really energetic fans. The packed house was singing along and jumping up for their favorites. I didn’t get the sense of slavish teeny-boperism, but of people strongly moved by songs that really mean something to them. I plan to pick up the debut album, so perhaps I’ll be one of them soon.

I opened the title of this column with a pun related to the Who. I did this because; A) I’m a dork who enjoys puns; B) In particular I’m a music geek who loves music puns; C) I am PT’sBFL (Pete Townshend’s Bitch For Life). I was not as wayward a pun as it seems, though. One particular aspect of Pete Townshend’s genius was that, whatever considerable intellectual ambitions he exercised in the Who’s albums, he never forgot that rock music is supposed to be dynamic and fun.

The Cold War Kids let considerable intelligence loose in their music. But, unlike many of their lo-fi low-affect indie peers they don’t forget to be rousing along the way. Keep an eye on these kids. I plan to.

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