My earliest recollection of Cold War Kids was their presence chumming around with members of Delta Spirit at a run-down loft concert years ago in Whittier, California (a night where I only remember drinking in a parked car, friends arguing and tiny faux-riental rugs strewn about). And to be honest, it took me a while to realize that they and Kings of Leon were different bands, as the two bands had mutual friends within my peripheral circle. Rock critics found the lines of differentiation between these bands fuzzy as well, throwing The Black Keys into the pool too. With their new album Mine Is Yours, which dropped this week, Cold War Kids are certainly not the band they were before, making a bid for mainstream acceptance.
The Kids gave the sold-out audience at Third Man Records in Detroit, Michigan a taste of that close-knit warehouse concert feel with their performance last month. Owned by Jack White of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, the record label-come-record store-come-performance space has welcomed acts like Wanda Jackson, Japanese rockabilly girl group The 126.96.36.199's (who do a killer cover of Jackson's 'Let's Have A Party'), and yes, even Conan O'Brien. In the video below, you can see a brief Hitchcock-esque cameo of what seems to be a silhouette of Jack White's perma-hatted head at 0:53. The Kids' stripped-down stomp and soul performance oscillated between demure melodies and simultaneous instrumental collisions that no doubt shook the floor and pleased Mr. White. A recording of the live performance will be released by Third Man on an exclusive vinyl-only pressing. The band has bleached out their whisky-stained sound in favor of a slick studio album, which will cause them to lose some die-hard fans. But with any hope, their new direction will be a formula to rockstar success.
Watch Cold War Kids perform the spooky 'Cold Toes on the Cold Floor' off their latest album at Third Man.