Latitude 2009

Cold War Kids put up a cold front

It's a loveable tick of Latitude that you get kids sporting squeaky-clean floral wellies in the same ground as well-heeled WI members. "He’s got lovely tattoos," says one old chap admiringly, pointing at Cold War Kids frontman Nathan Willet's inked chest. Still, while indeed lovely, they're not really enough to keep a crowd visually entertained for 45 minutes.

Whether the California quartet's cerebral honky-rock didn’t suit the speakers, or their recent equipment loan to The National had knackered out their kit, tinny sound meant that they needed more than just straight-out playing. Instead, the band stared at the floor, the ceiling, each other, anywhere that wasn't the crowd singing along with them.

When Willet abandoned his keyboard for the lead mic he managed the feat of sliding centre stage and singing an entire song without acknowledging what was in front of him. They'd have been better off playing in their front room and letting people peer in through the windows.

An eerie 'Saint John' scored some tentative finger jabbing from the front rows, but unsurprisingly given this is the last day of the weekend, the audience seemed more enthused by songs from this year’s 'Robbers And Cowards' album that weren't about prisons. 'Hospital Beds' and set closer 'Hang Me Up To Dry' secured the cheers of the set.

Whether the band actually deserved them or not is another matter entirely. Under cover of darkness, the band's edgier moments would have been magical but without that luxury it was epically tedious to watch. Willett finished the set with a terse "Thanks" before ambling off, presumably to expend all that energy he's saved.

Words: Kat Brown


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