Cold War Kids, Junior Boys, Ted Leo, Juno at Neumos, Sunday Dec. 10th.
Cold War Kids This exceptionally vocally powerful, ardent, lively band from Fullerton California rocked pretty well Sunday night. They know what they’re doing, and they have the songwriting skills to really make their live work mean something. Rhythmically they moved you from 0-60 at the snap of a wrist. Their start/stops were as sharp as razors. Dynamic and punchy. Perfect.
One odd note, no pun intended: the singer/keyboardists’ dissonant chords here and there in songs, however talented he may be, are more the stuff of Thelonious Monk at Carnegie Hall. They sounded out of place in major key rock songs.
Overall, they were very into their performance and obviously very happy to be there.
Junior Boys Quality synth-indie with a couple of fantastic songs. At the end of the night they scored a solid Meh. Not my thing live, sorry. Chop my head off.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists Ted Leo won the Best Anti-Heckler Repulsion This Side of Jeff Tweedy™ award, made possible by his humor mix comprising exactly 1/2 that of Joey from Friends and 1/2 that of Jerry Seinfeld. He was funny during his between-song crowd banter, and a magnetic frontman any band would kill for.
Live, Leo has no vocal and guitar skills to spare. He wasn’t bad, but he had no reserves. If you call TLaP punk, that’s fine I think. If you call them something else, it’s bad. You decide.
The TLaP drummer Big Steve has a different and friendly stage persona strengthened by his unorthodox but efficient way of drumming. It was a joy to watch the Bearded One rock in the back.
Juno They were there, and they laid down some tracks. They were having a great time on stage, and it was hard not to be excited for them. Like the Junior Boys, not my thing. If you loved them when they were around like a good portion of the crowd did, this was your Mecca.
bands in order of appearance