A Slice of Fried Gold

Cold War Kids at First Tap

Sunday, February 7, 2010

This past Thursday, Bear Tooth actually had another band up in Alaska I liked for First Tap! Not to say there is something wrong with Rusted Root or Clinton Fearon or any of the others that followed Ghostland Observatory's performance at November's edition, but those bands are well past their prime. To be fair, as I noted with my friend Kerstin before the show, even the performers of the evening are not exactly on their way to the top.

Cold War Kids are their name, and they shot onto the scene with 2006's Robbers & Cowards. While it wasn't their first release, it was their first to gain them widespread attention. Highlighted by three particularly transcendant tracks in "Hospital Beds", "Hang Me Up to Dry" and "We Used to Vacation", they toured vigorously and gained them a lot of fans.

Including yours truly.

Of course, their follow up release Loyalty to Loyalty in 2008 was received by reviews of the negative nature from all kinds of critics.

Including yours truly.

Now they visited Alaska, supporting their recent EP release Behave Yourself (which is solid, in case you're wondering), and they were...mostly good. I saw them at Sasquatch 2008 before the release of Loyalty, and they were excellent. They brought a lot of energy and vitality, like you'd expect a band who'd just recently hit it big would do.

However, when they came into town on Thursday preceded by Wasilla's Lavoy (a decent local opener for what they are, but as Kerstin and I said it's like they don't know who they are so they switch genres constantly and have no real identity) instead of on the same day as The Cure, Death Cab for Cutie, and Tegan and Sara. Not sure if how much it affected it, but the timing and situation couldn't have helped as the band prepared.

Overall, they sounded very solid. They had a good mix between all of their releases, spreading all of my personal favorite tracks out over the length of the performance to keep me having something to look forward to. Everyone in the band performed their duties admirably, but there is one simple problem with the performance: they have a few great songs, and a lot of mediocre ones.

To me, this led their performance to drag on. They aren't particularly engaging performers, they don't draw us in with their stage presence, and they didn't have an insane stage show like Ghostland Observatory (or The Who at the Super Bowl today, mother of god!). While they sounded just fine, nothing about the evening excelled short of the excellent company with me and the fine brews Bear Tooth provided. Still a good time, but ultimately nothing fantastic.


Post a Comment