The Cold War Kids rocked the house at Bottom of the Hill for the first night of their sold-out three-night stand at the small San Francisco venue.
The Minimum Day Tour, which was is only nine shows in three west coast cities (Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco), has largely been to garner support for their independently released new single “Minimum Day,” available for free on their website.
For a band that has most recently played at the Fox Theater and The Fillmore, the intimacy of Bottom of the Hill was a real treat for fans. And it also served as a great introduction for their newest member, Dann Gallucci. Recently, original CWK guitarist Jonnie Russell decided to part ways with the band and now Gallucci (former Modest Mouse and Murder City Devils band member) is touring in his place, recording the band’s fourth studio album, and incorporating himself seamlessly alongside his new band members.
Monday night started off with “Welcome to the Occupation” from their second studio album, Loyalty to Loyalty. Front man Nathan Willett’s effortlessly soulful and lilting vocals are perhaps the band’s most obvious characteristic, but the overall syncopated rhythms and tempo and style changes make this band one of the most recognizable in the indie scene. Willett’s often unpredictable, yet easy-going lyrics are full of self discovery and question his debt to, and role in, society.
The upbeat and hopeful “Royal Blue”, one of the singles off their most recent album Mine Is Yours, came next and it was clearly an audience favorite. Willett and bassist Matt Maust (who was rocking an awesome CATS the Musical shirt) share the stage well, but Gallucci (who was bouncing between guitar and keyboards) is undeniably at home with them too. Old and new fans alike will love the new single “Minimum Day,” a grittier, janglier rock/soul track that flirts with their earlier sound, but incorporates the accessibility of their newest album.
Overall, it was a tight set without much banter. Midway through the show Willett commented, “You guys are a quiet audience. But it’s a week night, I understand.” And from then on the audience stepped it up, danced harder, and sang all the lyrics for the next song, “Passing the Hat.”
Closing out the set was “Hospital Beds,” another hit off their first, and most popular album.
After some of the loudest hootin’ and hollerin’ that I’m sure the Bottom of the Hill has ever heard, CWK came back and kicked off their encore with the infectiously energetic “Something Is Not Right With Me.” Willett took down a few notches for “Every Man I Fall For,” followed by the quietest song of the evening, “Cryptomnesia.” And, of course, the last song of the night “Saint John” had the entire audience joining in.
After this successful tour, CWK are focusing on recording their new album. If “Minimum Day” is any indication, fans can expect an album full of dirty, soulful rock, complete with deliciously imprecise keyboards, driving drums, and more of Willett’s beautifully unique crooning. It cannot come out soon enough.
The Complete Set List for Monday, March 5th.
Welcome to the Occupation
Santa Ana Winds
We Used to Vacation
I’ve Seen Enough
Hang Me Up to Dry
Passing the Hat
Baby’s Here (?) (New Song)
Louder Than Ever
Something Is Not Right With Me
Every Man I Fall For