Cold War Kids bring live show to Signal
You often hear fans of a band or performer say that their live shows sound “just like the record.” It’s often meant as a compliment, and for many fans, that is their expectation. That the song they fell for hearing it on the record is performed the same way live.
Nearly s i nce t heir beginning in 2004, the Cold War Kids have approached their live shows and their studio recordings as two different things. That’s partly because they try to replicate their stage shows in the studio — not the other way around — and they come up short, says Nathan Willett.
And, when you consider they have a relatively short time to develop a song during a recording session in comparison to playing it hundreds of times live over many years, it’s easy to see how a song might change over the years. Which is what has happened with many of their older songs and which explains why The Cold War Kids will perform tonight at The Signal. they wanted to make a live album featuring the current iterations of fan favorites from their live sets.
“Audience” was released in April and contains 16 songs recorded live at The Georgia Theatre in Athens in September 2017. Among the recordings are “All This Could Be Yours” and the Gold-certified, Alternative Songs chart-topper “First” from 2014’ s “Hold My Home” plus “So Tied Up,” “Restless” and “Can We Hang On?” from last year’s studio album, “LA Divine.”
“We had been wanting to do a live album for a long time actually,” Willett says.
“The impetus for me was that the songs were recorded very quickly and, over years, they have evolved into a different thing. The thing that we do live is us at our best. In the studio, we try to replicate that and often times we don’t achieve it.
” The live songs have so much life and vibe. It’s five guys that have really spent years learning little tricks and fun ways of performing that make it better.”
He mentions “Hospital Beds” as an example of a song that is completely different live than the original studio recording, which was slower and restrained.
Willett said the band had been talking about doing a live recording for years, but were aware of the challenges of making a live record. First of all, it can be expensive and the results are not always good.
“It gets in your head,” he says. “You think about it and it reflects in the music. There is no way around it.”
“Audience” was a bit of a surprise because the live recording, which they do for many of their shows, ended up being just what they’d been looking for.
In addition to Willett, Cold War Kids are Matt Maust, Joe Plummer, Matthew Schwartz and David Quon. The band was formed in 2004 in Fullerton, California. They have sold more than 800,000 adjusted albums, over 2 million singles and racked up over 329 million streams to date.