A night out at Stubb’s outdoor is never dull. Even when the artists performing aren’t your usual cup of tea. This past Thursday night, PAPA and Cold War Kids put on a high-energy, eccentric set for Austin that definitely gained them handfuls of new fans.
Los Angeles’ PAPA started off the show that night and I eagerly listened with much anticipation. After reading up on the band, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. This band initially grabbed my attention mostly due to the fact that the lead singer/drummer Darren Weiss was formerly the drummer in the now broken-up band Girls, one of my indie favorites. But the band definitely could walk the talk. They’re not your typical indie rockers. Weiss’ energy behind the drums, as well as his vocals, was compelling. Aside from their rich vocals, their touring guitarist killed every song. With it’s brilliant guitar riffs, ‘I Am The Lion King,’ off of their A Good Woman is Hard to Find EP seemed to be a crowd favorite and could easily be the next best hit that gets PAPA the attention they deserve.
Maybe the fact that bassist Danny Presant, the other half of PAPA, is his best friend is the reason behind the excellent chemistry. Weiss was vocal with the crowd throughout the set and the high energy from the band as a whole kept the audience more than content. As PAPA wrapped up the set, Weiss made his way to the front of the stage to high-five all of those people who were standing in the front rows.
The main attraction took the stage and Cold War Kids proved to be everything but “kid-like.” Their 17-song set blasted through Stubb’s and got everyone riled up. They’re the kind of band that has that one good song on the radio that you’re afraid to listen to more of in fear that the rest of their music is mediocre but fortunately, that was not the case. Frontman Nathan Willett, known for his bellowing vocals, lived up to his reputation and had people singing their lungs out along with him.
Older fan favorites like “Hang Me Up To Dry” and “Hospital Beds” were a hit with the audience whether you knew the lyrics or not. Something about Willett’s voice made it impossible not to want to get a little rowdy with them. All throughout the front of the crowd, people lit up and got relaxed during the heavier piano tracks like “We Used to Vacation.” The band’s stage presence was on point through each song and they never slowed down. After almost a decade as a band and four albums later, Cold War Kids still exude the same passion as they did when they released Robbers & Cowards. And that speaks volumes.