Columbus’ locally owned and operated alternative rock station, CD102.5, know’s how to throw a party its listeners will love. Every CD102.5 Day, Holiday Show, Summerfest, and Fallfest are filled with alt-rock mainstays and great up and coming acts. This Saturday’s CD102.5 Day Side A at EXPRESS LIVE!, was no exception, with headliners Cold War Kids (pictured above), along with The Shelters, Mondo Cozmo, Hembree, and local band, Personal Public. Each of these bands are have been part of the station’s recent playlists, and Cold War Kids have been a CD102.5 staple for just over a decade.
The show kicked off with Personal Public. The Columbus alt-rockers won the right to open the show, and definitely made the most of the opportunity with their strong set. The band released their first full length album, Revival, back in January, and released a brand new single, “Bite Your Tongue” on March 24. Their high energy style of garage was a great open to the show.
Next up was Kansas City band Hembree (pictured above). Their single, “Holy Water,” released in November, 2016, has been on heavy rotation on CD102.5. Despite having only released two singles so far, the trio played a very strong set that got the crowd into the show early. Hopefully a full-length album, or at least an EP with be coming soon.
Mondo Cozmo, the new moniker of Joshua Ostrander, who previously fronted the band, Eastern Conference Champions, was up next. (Pictured left at his Big Room performance). Mondo Cozmo recently shot to prominence with the release of the single, “Shine,” which hit #1 on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart in January 2017. With three guitars, a bass, and a drummer onstage, Mondo Cozmo’s set did not lack in musical power and strength. It was also a very heartfelt performance, as Ostrander explained to the crowd that he was missing his grandmother’s funeral to play the show, but that he knew that she would rather he play than cancel the performance. Mondo Cozmo also featured the crowd sing-along moment of the night when they covered The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony”.
Last up before the headliners was new LA band The Shelters, whose debut self-titled album was released last year, and was co-produced by none other than Tom Petty. During their acoustic Big Room performance earlier in the day at CD102.5, co-lead singers, Josh Jove and Chase Simpson, explained that Simpson grew up near where Petty lives, and had therefore known him for years.
Even without knowing about Petty’s influence, it’s obvious that The Shelters musical style features more classic rock elements than most contemporary alt-rock bands. This classic rock influence, paired with the perfectly blended harmonies of Jove and Simpson, helps create a sound for The Shelters that is unique among today’s new rock bands. The Shelters definitely had the crowd at EXPRESS LIVE! rocking throughout the show. (The Shelters pictured above in the Big Room and below at EXPRESS LIVE!).
Cold War Kids came out firing, immediately launching into hits “All This Could Be Yours” and then “Miracle Mile”. Since Robbers & Cowards was released over 10 years ago, Cold War Kids have pumped out five more albums filled with hits, and their 7th studio album, L.A. Divine, is set to drop on April 7th. Needless to say, Nathan Willet (vocals, piano, guitar), and the band had more than enough material to fill their set, and played tracks spanning the length of their career. Willet and bassist, Matt Maust, were frenetic in their display of energy onstage, easily transitioning from one song to the next. With the new album set to drop in a couple weeks, the band worked in several new songs, including its first single, “Love Is Mystical,” along with “Can We Hang On?,” and “Tied Up,” the latter of which will feature up-and-comer Bishop Briggs on the album recording. Cold War Kids also satisfied longtime fans with a couple of deeps cuts, such as “Hospital Beds” and “Mexican Dogs”. During the encore, they performed an inspired cover of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain”. Based on their performance, great new tracks, and the crowds enthusiasm the second decade is off to a great start for Cold War Kids.