Live albums are typically used by a record label to either fill in the time between album releases by an artist, or to take advantage of when a band is at its peak popularity. With no shortage of catalog material, Cold War Kids have released their first live album entitled Audience. The band has released six studio albums to date, with very little lag coming in between each of the releases. Recorded on September 24, 2017 in Athens, GA, Audience capitalizes on the band’s live strengths, which is to keep the music flowing from song to song, all the while engaging the crowd in belting out each memorable hook.
Cold War Kids play with a sense of urgency on this live record, with very little filler such as stage banter or other distractions between each track. They have also done a good job of balancing the hits with the deep cuts on this album as the album plays enjoyably from front to back. The crowd itself tends to be more engaged in their older tracks from Robbers & Cowards, and singer Nathan Willett allows for plenty of time for getting the audience to join him in singing along. With a setlist that spans 16 songs (19 for those who bought the album through the band’s website) and touches on every album in their catalog, it would be hard for the die-hard Cold War Kids fans to avoid checking out this album.
The band itself is very much on point with their musicianship and timing, and you can easily tell that they enjoy playing live together as a unit. With a few slight variations of tempos and arrangements on the live recordings, it will be a welcome departure for long-time fans of the group as they have made just enough changes to the songs for listeners very familiar with their material. For the casual fans, they have also included a large number of hits in this set to gravitate towards.
While there is not any new material on this set, the band accomplishes what they set out to do: make an enjoyable live album that showcases the wide breadth of material they have put out to date, play a variety of hits, and make the listener feel satisfied for going through this experience with the band. While this is not the greatest live album ever recorded, it still should satisfy fans of the band by looking back on the first few chapters of the band’s existence and looking forward to what the band will release in the future.