Live Review: Cold War Kids + Mere Women – Metro Theatre, Sydney (26.03.16)

If you were to judge the success of a band solely on their name, it would be safe to say a Cold War Kids gig would probably be quite a drawn out, relatively uneventful experience. Luckily you tend to judge a band on their music and live capabilities, so in this case, Cold War Kids had nothing to worry about when they took to the stage of Sydney’s Metro Theatre.

Acting as main support for the night were Sydney locals Mere Women. Firstly, whoever had the job of matching Mere Women as the entrée to Cold War Kids’ main course, can have a job as a Sommelier in my fake restaurant any time. For those playing at home, a Sommelier is the person who pairs wine and food at really posh eateries. Mere Women were a really delicate and full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon to Cold War Kids’ red meat; a Sauvignon Blanc to Fish (in the spirit of Easter).

These Mere Women (and one man) were everything you’d expect from a support, apart from the broken limb sported by front woman Amy Wilson. Teasing the crowd with new single “Numb”, as well as a mix of older material during their half hour set, Mere Women left me more than happy that I’d made the effort to come early and see them flaunt their skills.

Having played a handful of headlining shows in support of their Bluesfest slot, California’s Cold War Kids put on a tight, greatest hits set for the Sydney crowd. Touring for the second time on their most recent release, Hold My Home, Cold War Kids got things started with stadium rock anthem-in-the-waiting “Don’t Let Your Love Grow Away From Me”. Quickly moving into “All This Could Be Yours” and “One Song At A Time”, the appearance of front man Nathan Willett brandishing a tambourine and maraca definitely earned my vote of confidence.

Throwing it back to fan favourites “Miracle Mile” (with its killer keys) and a slightly fuller sounding “Audience”, it was clear the band were going to play as many bangers as they could in the shortest amount of time possible. Having listened to the band a fair bit over the past year, I found myself singing the opening riff of “Hot Coals”, replaced by the words of fellow Bluesfest artist City and Colour and his track “Fragile Bird”. My confusion aside, what came next was bloody outstanding.

As the opening bass lines of “Hang Me Up To Dry” were played, the crowd and atmosphere in the room changed. Up until this point, it was clear there was a divide in song preference between new fans and old fans. “Hang Me Up To Dry”, however, was the unifying track of the set that truly set the benchmark for the 80 minute set. Early track “We Used To Vacation” and its chorus was my personal favourite moment of the set, while their subjectively biggest song “First” got the Sydney crowd going just as the set was coming to a close.

Closing out the main set with fan favourites “Hospital Beds” and “Something Is Not Right With Me”, the band were quick to return to the stage for a short encore, all the while leaving the audience of one thousand fans in pure ecstasy. Cold War Kids left the Sydney crowd completely happy with their choice to match an Autumn evening with a stellar live person; something that can’t be said about my choice in dinner and dessert (dirty meat pie and ice cream) later on in the night.

Photo by Andrew Wade.

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