Los Angeles is seeing it’s fair share of scorching weather this summer. With an array of outdoor options this weekend including Echo Park Rising, pier concerts and festivals, there is a grand slew of activities for music lovers to choose from. Those who opt to brave the blistering sun packed up their best picnic gear and came to Century Park for the final installment of KCRW’s summer concert series, Sound in Focus, featuring Cold War Kids and Other Lives on August 15. They were in for a treat, as the weather was not the only thing heating up Century City Saturday.
As the sun begins to go down, a cool breeze flows through the courtyard and relieves the company stacked on the lawn like sardines in waits for Other Lives’ set to start. The five-piece orchestral rock outfit from Portland uses a curious manipulation of their instruments to create some drawn out ethereal sounds. They carry a heavy wailing like that of Local Natives with a harsher beat. For being a rather modest group, they sure can pack a musical punch. Not to be outdone, frontman Jesse Tabish sings and plays bass, keys and acoustic guitar. The versatility is impressive. Toward the end of their set, the Tabish thanks KCRW and recognizes the station as the first to give them attention and airplay. Before leaving, however, they play a dark and stormy cover of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way,” which is surprisingly recognizable enough to do it serious justice as the crowd elates at the song’s start.
The time between sets is unfortunately long, but the morale stays high as a DJ spins upbeat electronic dance music like Flume and remixes of oldies. Just before CWK is supposed to come on, everything shuts down and lack of lighting and sound encourages the crowd to be the noisemakers. They obligingly cheer “Cold War Kids” over and over in hopes of bringing the group out faster. The minor hiccup does not sway the mood. The audience rises to its feet in anticipation of the group’s arrival.
Whilst the stench of food truck grease still pays heavy in the air, CWK abruptly take the stage, coming in hot and fresh off the music festival tour circuit. The group has a shocking amount of energy as they are rounding out their exhaustive tour this summer celebrating their new album and arguably their best year-to-date. Their enthusiasm is palpable throughout the set, partially in thanks to their growing number with extra musicians and backup singers on stage. All additions aside, they have undoubtedly gotten better with time and experience.
They bring the energy of an arena to the beautiful outdoor venue. The audience remains on its feet for the entirety of the show which presents a fair mix of old and new tunes. The lengthy set promises hits like “Audience” and “Louder than Ever,” but they remind everyone of their Long Beach roots when they get to “Hang Me Up to Dry.” CWK graces everyone with a short encore including a John Lennon cover. They are wrapping up the rest of their tour hitting even more festivals as summer comes to a close. Perhaps another new album is in the wings. No doubt they will bring the heat wherever else they go.
We Used to Vacation
Louder than Ever
One Song at a Time
Hang Me Up to Dry
Nights and Weekends
Something Is Not Right with Me
“Well Well Well” (John Lennon cover)