Maybe it’s always been cool not to care about anything. Whenever it happened, whether it was ten years ago or fifty, there definitely seems to be some sort of idea that to be detached and disengaged is to somehow be considered "cool." Social media has only added to the posturing, by making it easier for people to cook up their own “identities,” that have more to do with how they want to be seen, with how they actually are. That said, it is a big deal when people drop the charade, put down their iPhone and dance at a concert. Because things can still be fun even if no one knows where we are, right? When the Cold War Kids played Union Transfer this past Saturday night, they proved themselves to be a band that demands attention. The kind that makes people drop the charade, put down the iPhone, and dance.
When the Cold War Kids made their first full length album, 2006’s Robbers and Cowards, they were nationally recognized for their distinctive sound. As their popularity grew, so did the backlash. Unfairly written off by some critics, the band prospered nonetheless, winning over crowds with their lively performances and taught albums. But seeing them in person is akin to hearing them for the first time. The funky, bluesy bass lines that you hear on the record, take on an energy in concert that is hard to describe. Likewise with singer Nathan Willett’s voice. It sounds great, but it’s so unusual that immediately you think that this band may lack range. After all, how many groups have that one great song, or one great album but just can’t seem to stop themselves from using the same tricks and regurgitating the same material over and over again? Over the years, Cold War Kids have proved that they are not a snapshot in time. They are the real deal, equally capable of get up songs like the break out “Hang Me Up To Dry,” as they are of the beautiful, thought provoking, “Hospital Beds,” and the newer, “Tuxedos.” Seeing them perform, the colored lights at Union Transfer changing them into blacked out silhouettes, the excitement is such that for just a short period of time, Facebook doesn’t exist. Instagram doesn’t exist. Vine doesn’t exist. Looking around, watching all the faces glued to the stage, it is a rarity and a pleasure to see people ignoring their notifications and enjoying what is right in front of them.