Music is a funny thing.  There are bands that excel in the recording studio and then can’t seem to repeat that magic in front of an audience.  Then there are bands that put out totally mediocre records but put on a damn fine show.  Cold War Kids’ show at the Masquerade last night fits squarely in that second category.

I was less than unimpressed with the band’s latest release, finding it far too broad and watered down musically, as though they were trying their hardest to move out of the indie scene and find a place for themselves on top-40 radio.  The album left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, which I carried with me into the first few moments of their show.

It turns out I was in for a wonderful surprise.  Within minutes of the first song I found myself looking around in the room in utter amazement, wondering if everyone else there had already known what I hadn’t- that Cold War Kids are a fantastic band when they are in front of a live audience.

Gone was the non-descript, mainstream sound of their album and in its place was in incredible energy and raw emotion that came out in every note.  Lead singer Nathan Willet brought passion and excitement to the very same songs that I had found so boring on their album and bassist Matt Maust danced and played like he was performing the final show of his life.

These guys had the audience dancing and singing for almost two hours with out a break.  Clearly, Cold War Kids are at home in front of crowd, and for good reason.  The band’s excitement was infectious and it translated into one of the most surprisingly satisfying shows I have seen this year.

Pictures by Emily Kelsey