Published Mar 19, 2011On St. Patrick's Day, DJs everywhere played plenty of U2. Evidently, all of that radio rock rubbed off on California four-piece Cold War Kids, whose next-day set owed plenty to Bono and co.
Buoyed by the Balconies' romping opening slot, the Kids came out to a primed, half-drunken and easy-to-please Friday night crowd. Beginning with "Royal Blue" -- an amalgam of "Mysterious Ways" (see the intro) and Rod Stewart's "Rhythm of My Heart" (see the melody) -- they established a MOR standard that never abated.
In addition to Dublin's favourite arena act, the band's musical allusions ran a familiar gamut. Despite its atypically exciting maraca and harmonica, "Cold Toes on the Cold Floor" sauntered into Better Than Ezra territory (remember them?), while mid-tempo plodder "Skip the Charades" echoed Silverun Pickups. And even the jaunty keys of "Bulldozer" nodded to David Gray.
While U2 was a near-constant presence, "Hang Me Up to Dry" briefly dropped the Edge riffs, opting instead for rollicking keys and providing the most ebullient moment of the night. From there, car-commercial aspirations ran wild, with genial paint-by-numbers cuts like "Louder Than Ever," "Dreams Old Men Dream" and "Audience."
Largely unobtrusive -- never a particularly promising adjective for a rock show -- the band delivered a how-to-please clinic. Like a fresh-out-of-the-box pair of Chuck Taylors, it was a pleasant but ultimately unmemorable affair that could have benefitted greatly from some scuffing.