Live Review: Cold War Kids at The Hi Fi 6th January 2015



Photos by Alistair Rathbone

Review by Harry Ward

Californian outfit Cold War Kids have always confused me. I’ve never been sure of how to enjoy their music, fusing peculiar timbres with stadium rock tendencies. I thought I’d go find out at their sold-out show in Sydney.


Rock n’ rollers Spookyland, project of Sydney-bloke Marcus Gordon, played a few tunes to get things going. These guys have gone from strength to strength in recent months with the success of the single The Silly Fucking Thing copping some gorgeous reviews overseas and at home. I was excited to finally see them in the flesh. The music is simple, the guitars are noisy and the lyrics are infinite. Spookyland is a rock act with a dark twist, thriving thanks to such an interesting voice. These guys were certainly playing in tradition of the genre, and I can respect that.


So these five guys come onstage and I’m like “Hey, you said you were kids?” They immediately apologised for the deceit. A full venue was pleased to be greeted by Cold War Kids, who were undeniably pumped to be performing, even five albums into their career. The crowd was largely made up of indie fence-sitters.

indie fence-sitter(n)

One with musical tastes that rarely venture out of the mainstream, but occasionally dabbles in the safer side of indie/alternative music.

 The boys wasted no time, serving up the big ballsy, chanting rock sound of All This Could Be Yours first. It’s hard to ignore how comfortable these guys are onstage, constantly interacting with one another and seeming genuinely in touch with the songs they put out eight years ago. I fought hard against every part of me that wanted the band to hurry up and play Hang Me Up To Dry, but to my disgrace, I’m only human and when the song started I wet my little knickers. The show was non-stop and incredibly energetic, living up to the nature of their music. Vocalist Nathan Willett is working with a bold, cool voice, but he’s a one trick pony and the yelping can become tiring at high volumes. Yelping aside, Cold War Kids entertained a loyal and expanding fan base in Sydney that night, playing older classics such as Hospital Beds and a lot of material from their latest offering Hold My Home. An encore left swarm of fans more than satisfied. A solid performance for a bunch of kids.


Bassist Matt Maust’s ability to write bass lines that only require his right hand, leaving his left hand free to touch everything around him, or to just flop it around a bit for fun. Nice work mate.


Willett’s struggle to sing the ridiculously high verses to Hospital Beds. A tough gig, but hey, he brought it upon himself.


Cold War Kids’ onstage banter is very much a physical affair, with headbutts, shoving and little adventures across the stage commonplace from all members. Bassist Matt Maust is a particularly active little feller.



Alistair is the founder of Bear Family. Alistair resides in Sydney and can be found wandering the streets searching for bargains and peppermint tea. Come and say Hi, he's nice.

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