Concert Review: Cold War Kids and Highs @ The Phoenix – Toronto

The last time I was at The Phoenix was to see the Jesus and Mary Chain, and to say there were twenty people there that night might be an overestimate. Last night, however, the house was packed; if not sold out than really close to being sold out, which isn’t really that interesting when looking at the touring history of Cold War Kids (who I was seeing). In fact, they haven’t been to Toronto since 2011, so it’s understandable that anyone who even vaguely knows the group, or anyone who at least grew up with their first album, would come flocking in droves to see them.

It was their famed album art from 2008 (the skeleton?) that hung behind them, and they played a lot of the hits off that album to the crowd (young, hip, dance-y), although they were technically out supporting their newest album Hold My Home, the album which Joe Plummer, drummer from Modest Mouse and The Shins, was officially listed in the liner notes.

Although some may say working with Cold War Kids might be a lateral move fame-wise in regards to the other groups Plummer has worked with, the real fact of the matter is: the man works. He is a true blue working drummer, and regardless of whether he’s padding his already well-manicured resume with yet another indie band, or if he’s simply found a niche in which he excels strongly, I probably won’t know until the next time the group tours Canada.

The album from 2008 was so defining that most if not all of the audience members presumably came to see that album performed, losing interest a bit in songs they were unfamiliar with. And it’s true, Loyalty to Loyalty had several hits that catapulted the band into worldwide recognition, defining not only the group and their specific breed of indie-blues-rock, but defining their sound and what they were known as to the public. They had, in other words, found the magic. That one thing that makes a band great and the one thing that almost every band seems to lose along the way, or transmute in some way. But if the magic can change, or can be captured again and again, doesn’t it lose some of it’s original power and awe-inspiring creativity?

The question then becomes, or perhaps should have been all along: Can a band ride on the coattails of their previous success forever? Can the magic be regained once or if it is lost? With their new single All This Could Be Yours, it seems like Cold War Kids may be surfing that magic wave again.

Follow updates from Cold War Kids here.

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Review by Emily Fox (@foxyfox)

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