Cold War Kids @ Birmingham Academy 2, 22nd February 2011


Reviews for Cold War Kids’ latest album, Mine Is Yours, have been a real mixed bag, some critics feeling they’ve lost the edge that made them exciting, others claiming the band have finally found their sound that could take them to a broader audience. Personally, the album is my favourite of theirs so far, with a more expansive sound and more developed songs. By the time this gig occurs, I for one am just as excited to hear the new songs live as I am to hear fan favourites such as Hospital Beds and Hang Me Up To Dry.


It’s a sold out room in Academy 2 and, while Rob Zombie rocks the main Academy next door, things upstairs are a little more subtle. Kicking off their set with three new songs in Mine Is Yours, Royal Blue and Finally Begin is a brave move and, no thanks to a muddy sound, it’s maybe not the dynamic beginning many may have been hoping for. Luckily, by the time they play Mexican Dogs from 2008’s Loyalty To Loyalty album, things begin to fall into place and the sound clears up nicely, allowing the intricacies of their sound to shine through.

It still seems to be the songs from their debut album that most of the crowd react best to. The aforementioned Hang Me Up To Dry appears fairly early in the set and inspires a little more movement from their audience with it’s disjointed groove. The opportunity to dance is soon snatched away again though, as the tripped-out Every Man I Care For takes the pace all the way down before things kick back into gear with one of the new record’s highlights, Louder Than Ever. The band’s playing is impeccable throughout and frontman Nathan Willett’s voice sounds powerful enough to truly fill the room.


From this point on, Cold War Kids seem to finally find their stride, with gem after gem proving why they’re such a original and inventive band. Hospital Beds receives the biggest cheer of the night before the band end on the epic high of Flying Upside Down which sees them let loose into a frenzied jam before bidding us goodnight.

Cold War Kids are a fine live band with a style all of their own. Tonight’s crowd maybe need a little more time getting to know Mine Is Yours but this gig was a fine showcase of a band making music which is quirky, thoughtful and uniquely brilliant.

Review & photos — Steve Gerrard

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