By Rita Plante
On Saturday, February 1st, established indie rock band Cold War Kids stopped at House of Blues in Boston. Since the band formed in 2004, they have released seven albums, four of which debuted in the top 10 on the Billboard Alternative Charts. Their latest release, New Age Norms, was released in November 2019 featuring singles “Complainer” and “4th of July.”
New Age Norms is the first album of an upcoming trilogy from Cold War Kids. The short, eight track album discusses race, gender, and power norms that we see in society, today through a wide array of power ballads to high-tempo feel good songs. With a solid new release under their belt and two upcoming albums on the way, the band departed on a fall tour.
During this tour, they brought the all female band Overcoats along to almost every city. Going into the show, I didn’t know who Overcoats were but I left a fan. I was instantly grabbed by the song “Leave the Lights On” due to the catchy rhythm and their amazing choreography that dominated the stage. Overcoats were a great addition to the lineup. After their thirty minute set, it was time for Cold War Kids to take the stage.
House of Blues erupted in cheers as Nathan Wilett and the rest of the Cold War Kids walked out on stage. Not soon after, their summer 2017 hit off of their album L.A. Divine “Love is Mystical ” broke out and the arena erupted in noise. The fans were screaming the lyrics while Wilett took over the stage. It felt almost as if he was singing into your soul and he towered over me, leaning into his microphone.
Throughout the entire show Wilett sang with such confidence and vigor, which really explains how the band has stayed relevant for over fifteen years. During the most upbeat songs such as “So Tied Up” he moved across the stage whilst shaking a tambourine jingle stick and singing. The bass player, Matt Maust, caught my eye instantly as he was constantly moving around the stage and engaging with the people in the front row.
The show had many ups and downs featuring high tempo songs you want to dance to and ballads on piano that will make you want to cry. During “Beyond the Pale,” the most powerful ballad on New Age Norms, Wilett took to the piano and brought out the two vocalists from Overcoats to harmonize with him. The song gave me chills and I could see that the rest of the audience was hooked too. There was not a phone in sight; in fact, there were barely any phones out for the entire set.
The set concluded with their most popular song, the one that introduced me to the band, “First.” The audience was more excited than ever before, singing at the top of their lungs whilst Wilett and the rest of the band played their way off stage. They did return for a short two song encore, bringing out Overcoats once again to finish the night off right.
They played a whopping twenty-four songs, and were able to engage the audience throughout each one. The band is full of talented instrumentalists: there was not a computer on that stage, all the music was made the old-fashioned way. The highlight of the night was when they brought out a cake to celebrate the drummer’s birthday and the entire arena sang “Happy Birthday.” Overall, Cold War Kids impressed in Boston.