© 2011 Lost In Concert _MG_2446

Cold War Kids at The Riviera Theatre

Long Beach, Calif. based blues rockers Cold War Kids marched into Chicago’s Riviera Theatre on Friday March 11, 2011 with what seemed to be two missions:

1.) Play Rock N Roll.

2.) Have fun.

The quartet is currently touring in support of their newest album Mine is Yours on Downtown Records and the evening began with a couple tracks (Royal Blue and Finally Begin) from this album before setting off into a night that was filled with a mix of their new stuff and plenty of sing-a-longs from the previous  two albums to keep the crowd roaring. While some of the songs on Mine is Yours rely on a more polished approach for the studio version, their live show and delivery of these songs is no different than it has been for the last five or so years which is: 2 part blues, 1 part rock, passionate lyrics delivered loudly and finish off with loads of energy.

Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist,  Nathan Willett, requires a good portion of the stage for his mics, guitar and keyboards but shares the stage well with the entire band. Guitarist, Jonnie Russell, and bassist, Matt Maust, spent much of the night wandering all over the stage while dancing behind their instruments and obviously playing around with everyone on stage. Maust and Russell were both kicked in the ass at least once by Willett as everyone had fun dancing with each other and toying with the audience by hanging out at the front of the stage. No one left drummer, Matt Aveiro, out of the mix as they all took turns standing on his drum stage while staring at him, playing along and bouncing their heads as slammed his drummed sticks all the while keeping perfect time for the band’s instruments to keep going and the crowd’s asses to keep shaking.

All the good times the band was having definitely spilled over to the audience as the nearly sold out crowd yelled with Willett to some of the their favorite sing-a-longs like Red, Wine Success and Hospital Beds. But no matter how hard everyone tried, never once did they come close to drowning out his powerful and quite distinctive high pitched rasp. The band and the crowd were never in more sync than when the crowd  shook their fists in the airs and moved the dance floor during Hang Me Out to Dry as the band took banged out the tunes on stage and the lights flashed in a nearly black and white strobe.

The band did a wonderul job of busting out some great new stuff and letting the crowd get a chance to feel the songs instead of only hear them while still delivering some of their best tunes for everyone to knock off some of the late-winter blues. If their mission really was to Rock n Roll first and have fun second,  then I say: Mission Accomplished*

*Bonus point for making the entire audience Rock n Roll and have fun too.

SHOW DATE: Friday, March 11, 2011

PHOTOS & WORDS BY: Will Rice@photobywillrice )


  1. Posted March 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm | #

    I take it this was way better than the last two times they have been here, then?

    As a huge CWK fan, I left both past shows wishing I had my money back. They were really..un-fun, lifeless experiences, which made me sad as their shows were always, always one of the best of the year when they’d come around.

  2. Lost In Concert
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm | #

    Definitely. I was at the show at the Vic last year when Willett was sick or had just gotten over it and was having voice troubles. Perhaps they remembered that too because they all brought it this time around. -Will

  3. Sam Goody
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm | #

    Wow, these are amazing pics. It really captures the essence of the band when they’re in their prime on stage. Their show in Boston recently was fantastic. I noticed most of this type of energy came from playing songs from their last two records. I wonder how the new one will hold up.

  4. Lost In Concert
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm | #

    I agree about the excitement fro the crowd for the older albums but the new one only came out in January and could tell many had never heard it. I think in time there will be a few songs that come off of this album that will be crowd favorites. I already like it better than Loyalty to Loyalty. Thanks for the nice words and checking out the blog.

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