There’s really nothing like a killer mid-week show to cure your hump day blues. It was a weird Wednesday for this member of Twin Cities Media. My office at my other job was closed because of technical issues, I was feeling stressed. I woke up from a nap with a headache and afraid I was getting sick. I sent a whiny text to our photographer Andrew that I was “sooooo tired” and didn’t know if I could do this show tonight. He wasn’t of much help other than his reply “caffeine pill.” Instead of caffeine pill, I grabbed a beer, blasted some music and rallied to head down to First Avenue.
I walked into nearly a packed house with the opener was on stage. I ran up to the restroom before making my way to my favorite spot down near the right of the stage. “Who is this opener?” one girl said to her friend through the stalls. “I don’t know, some chick. J-o-u-r, or something?” her friend replied. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about JØUR either before last night, but hot damn, JØUR is absolutely more than some chick. JØUR’s voice was an absolute force to reckoned with. It was powerful but not overbearing. It was sweet but not sugary pop. I don’t know how JØUR got connected with this tour but I am sure as hell glad she did. And the crowd at First Ave seemed to share my sentiment, giving her a warm reception and their undivided attention through her set. This three piece band played through their roughly 35/40 minute like seasoned pros despite having almost zero social media presence (80 Twitter Followers, one song on Soundcloud.. She invited fans to come by the merch table and get a free download of her song after the set. Later in the evening I even saw her making her away through the crowd, seeming to be enjoying Cold War Kid’s set as much as everybody else.
Us staff writers here at TCM love when we are surprised by an opener, we go expecting one thing from the headliner and then a surprised with a golden nugget of an opener. On a night when I was tired (and whiny), this opener was even more of a welcomed treat. She even had the stoic security guards bobbing their heads and tapping their feet, no small feat. After last night I’ve had her tracks American Nightmare on repeat.Taking to the stage around 9:45 pm was Cold War Kids. This is a band that has experienced success both in the mainstream and the “indie” circles, generating a rather massive following since releasing their first album almost a decade ago. Cold War Kids is one of those bands that just about everybody can get excited about, but nothing about them is cookie cutter or predictable.
I have a special love for Cold War Kids since they all met at my alma-mater in Southern California. They got their start in the city that is my second home. A city I spent plenty of nights with people who are still my closest friends. I feel this weird kinship to Cold War Kids, just knowing they probably plenty nights stomping around Downtown Fullerton, frequenting the bars that I too spent many less than sober nights in. Cold War Kids have been a staple in my music anthology for years now but this was my first time seeing them live. Just about everyone I know have raved about their live sets and last night did not disappoint.
The band took to the stage with an infectious energy and had the room dancing and singing along all night (with a little help from some $6 tallboys). I was even lucky enough to stand next to a drunk dude and his girlfriend who insisted FaceTime-ing their friend in the middle of Hang Me Out to Dry was a great idea. Despite the largely inebriated crowd, it was a great set. Seeing this band live, a band that has clearly hustled and worked damn hard over the years, I fell in love all over again. I was reminded why this band rocked my world in college. From their sound to frontman Nathan Willett’s vocals to the depths and breadths they tackle lyrically, Cold War Kids is a band who deserves every ounce of success they’ve experienced. In between songs Willett talked about how much he loves Minneapolis, how much he loves First Ave, and how much he loves the fan. It’s a breath of fresh air when a band you love is just as good live, and just as humble as they seem.
It was a treat to finally see the Cold War Kids live and it was every bit as great as I thought it would be.