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Cold War Kids, Mondo Cozmo
May 24 Fri
Cold War Kids, Mondo Cozmo
JaM Cellars Ballroom
Public On Sale:Wed. Feb 28th 2024 @ 10 AM PST


BALCONY Access STANDING W/ Limited Seating $125*
*Additional service fees apply

Each person does require a ticket for entry.
Doors: 9:00pm
Show: 10:00pm
Ages 8 + (w/ children under 16 accompanied by an adult).
No Infants
No refunds/cameras/vaping/smoking or outside food/drink.

All areas are General Admission with limited seating in VIP Balcony.


Please contact venue Box Office with any special needs or accommodation inquiries at 7078802300 or

Due to the historic nature of the Ballroom, there are no bathrooms located upstairs. Facilities are located on the 1st Floor and are accessible via stairs or the elevator.
Ballroom is upstairs at 1030 Main St. Napa, CA 94559 at the historic Napa Valley Opera  House. There is an elevator for accessible entry. There is no adjacent parking to the venue; however, parking is available in downtown Napa.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you!

Cold War Kids

If Nathan Willett followed his usual impulses, Cold War Kids' 10th album might just have been a five-song EP, or an album with entirely different songs than the 12 ultimately chosen here. Instead, Willett took a rare pandemic-era breather to really contemplate what a Cold War Kids album could, and should, sound like in 2023, and how to infuse the material with meaningful discourse about his life specifically and the state of the world more broadly. Clearly, it was worth the wait: the aptly self-titled result is perhaps the strongest and most well-rounded full-length in the long-running California band's ample catalog, and the purest possible distillation of Cold War Kids' nearly 20-year career.
Over the course of nine studio albums and numerous EPs, Cold War Kids have become a major part of the modern musical landscape thanks to deeply personal songcraft and a commitment to forward motion. "First," their platinum-selling 2015 single, was named as the most played track at alternative radio outlets nationwide in the last decade, and 2007's "Hang Me Up To Dry" remaining a festival staple. Their current lineup — Willett (vocals, piano, guitar), Matt Maust (bass guitar), David Quon (guitar, backing vocals), Matthew Schwartz (keyboards, backing vocals, guitar, percussion), and Joe Plummer (drums, percussion) — coalesced in 2016 and has released a whopping four albums and five EPs since then.
"If I've got five songs done that I've worked on in a certain way, I tend to want to put them out as an EP and go do some shows around it," Willett says of his mindset during the early stages of Cold War Kids. "Continually as my brain would go to that place, I'd go, no, just wait, and really put together a full-length record. I needed to approach things very differently and work with some new people in a way that was a little uncomfortable. This album is where I've most felt like I was the executive producer of everything."
At first, Willett thought initial work with producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, M83) could be grist for another quick EP. Eventually, he realized one song in particular from those sessions, "Run Away With Me," was leading him down a different path. With its funky groove and huge chorus, "Run Away With Me" set the tone for what was to come on Cold War Kids: 12 high-minded, stylistically diverse songs referencing everything from Sly and the Family Stone and Curtis Mayfield to the Pretenders and Elton John to Happy Mondays and Gang Of Four.
"The band started out with four guys who have very specific tastes and styles, and now it's mostly me making the records in a way I love and have always envisioned," Willett says. "The sound of Cold War Kids has always been there, and I wanted this record to be the ideal, best version of all those things we've always been."
Just as the music on Cold War Kids draws equally from the band's blues-and-soul-driven sonic past as well as fresh forays into dance beats and '80s pop/rock, the album's themes of creative life conflicting with domestic realities reflect Willett's increasingly introspective state of mind. There are songs about breaking up with a trusted therapist ("Another Name"), juggling gender norms ("Double Life") and reckoning with a toxic past ("Toxic Masculinity"), the desire to escape stability ("Stray"), and the beauty of surrender and weakness ("Blame").
Committed to pushing himself just as hard to create the album's sound, Willett turned to a handful of new producers and collaborators, including Militarie Gun's Max Epstein,Casey Lagos (Kesha, Wrabel), Ethan Gruska (Phoebe Bridgers, Weezer), Jenn Decliveo (Miley Cyrus, Hozier), and Malay (Frank Ocean, Lorde).
"Like most people, I spent a lot of time at home during the pandemic with my kids, in many ways for the first time," Willett says. "While my partner was working, I became the mother. I had to shed my identity as a musician and an artist and could no longer play the role of best supportive male provider. I wanted to channel all this struggle and soul-searching, because it gave me a window of insight and access to the feminine experience that I needed to grow and ultimately create this album."
Willett singles out the slow-burning, piano-dominated "Another Name" as a turning point. On the day he was scheduled to work with Gruska for the first time, he'd also had his final session with his longtime therapist. "I started telling Ethan about it, which could have been really awkward with someone I'd never met. It's not easy to walk into a room and just write a song with a stranger," he says. "But instead, it was totally natural. The song came out almost fully formed, and it was probably the single best experience I've ever had working with a producer."
Willett singles out the slow-burning, piano-dominated "Another Name" as a turning point. On the day he was scheduled to work with Gruska for the first time, he'd also had his final session with his longtime therapist. "I started telling Ethan about it, which could have been really awkward with someone I'd never met. It's not easy to walk into a room and just write a song with a stranger," he says. "But instead, it was totally natural. The song came out almost fully formed, and it was probably the single best experience I've ever had working with a producer."
As much as Willett is probing his own psyche on Cold War Kids, he's also taking stock of how he interacts with the people around him. On the surface, the Malay-produced "For Your Love" is a universal song about a universal emotion, but in it Willett finds deeper meaning in holding his crying baby daughter in the middle of the night. Elsewhere, "Betting on Us" is both "a relationship song” and a self-reflection song, but it's also about being an artist. It's so much easier to be driven by wanting to play your music and show it to people, and so much harder to have to slow down and say, what is the reason for any of this? What do I hope that this does? Do I want success for its own sake, and if so, I need to not (laughs). I already have so much!"
This conundrum resurfaces in album closer "Starring Role," which was inspired by an epiphany Willett had while idly looking at celebrity gossip on his phone while waiting to pick up a rental car. "On one level, Cold War Kids, and the success we've had, is an absolute miracle beyond anything I would have hoped," he says. "On another level, like anybody, I see wrong moves we made or tours we should have taken or opportunities we blew, and I'm like, aaah! I think there's more mountains for us to climb. You have to be honest and at the same time a little crazy to be like, I want more, but I don't want to be narcissistic or greedy."
Ultimately, Cold War Kids is the culmination of Willett and Maust's two-decade creative partnership, and it embodies the realization that said partnership is still truly worth celebrating. "For so many years, we were white knuckling it and feeling like we were imposters," Willett admits. "I realized; I can't think that way. If I'm not sure I can listen back to something and know that it's great, then I shouldn't be putting it out."
"This group of friends met and were drawn to each other at a Christian college, and we started the band in a strange environment where we realized, what are we all doing here?" Willet says. "We came from a place of growing up, listening to music, and going to shows, and there's a type of sweetness where we were sheltered from the music industry or wanting to be successful at any cost. Maust and I still have that connection, and it's still an important part of what Cold War Kids are today."

Mondo Cozmo

Mondo Cozmo’s Josh Ostrander understands what happens when the heart cracks in two—and what to do next. That empathic ability drew him intrinsically to the Barbarian poets, a group of writers who gathered in San Francisco's Cafe Babar in the 1980s. Crammed into a tiny back room, poets like David Lerner would roar out their latest works amidst an equal flurry of riotous applause and smashed pint glasses. When Ostrander first came across Lerner’s poetry, it was the energy, the fervor, and the passion that grabbed him. Reeling from loss in his family, mired in pandemic, and searching for hope, Ostrander connected immediately to the dedication in one of Lerner’s books, knowing he’d found the title of his next album. This Is For the Barbarians (due April 8th via Last Gang Records) recognizes that death and life can be celebrated synchronically, pulling the darkness in to find the light inside, discovering grandeur in life’s most intimate moments. “It’s bright and funny, the human experience in a year of isolation,” Ostrander says. “It’s a slice of my liver and a piece of my heart. This is for the people going through darkness like I've been going through. Is anybody else out there hurting, or mad, or scared out of their mind? We're in this together.” 
Mondo Cozmo built up his audience—his tribe of Cozmo-nauts—through his first two records, songs that sit at some sublime and surreal convergence of folk poetry and acoustics, heady electronics, and anthemic rock hooks. His 2017 debut, Plastic Soul, earned loving reviews everywhere from Entertainment Weekly to The Guardian, catapulting Mondo Cozmo onto stages with the likes of Spoon and Muse. His sophomore record, 2019’s New Medicine, amped up the punk urgency, thanks in part to collaborations with members of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and guidance from the legendary Butch Vig. 
But when it came time to tour that record, the pandemic canceled Ostrander’s entire plans for the year, and the Philadelphia-born musician found himself moving from Los Angeles to the small town of Twin Peaks, California. And instead of bringing music to crowds around the world, he would regularly drive three hours to visit his beloved uncle. “He had a houseboat, and we would go out on the boat and listen to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger,” Ostrander recalls fondly. Tragically, Ostrander’s uncle was diagnosed with cancer, making those long drives and heartfelt visits prior to his passing all the more meaningful. “I was commuting back and forth, all those trips, trying to write songs, listening to instrumentals I was working on and trying to write lyrics,” Ostrander adds.
From the opening roar and jangle of lead single “Feel Good” forward, it’s clear that instead of focusing on suffering, Ostrander honed in on the love, connection, and beauty that surrounds it. Backed by cowbell, layered horns, and sampled shouts, Ostrander lets fly a blaring distorted guitar solo, inviting the listener to commune amongst the ruin. The explosive “Meant For Livin’” similarly feels like an anthem for those just scraping through the pandemic, the twitchy energy and wall of sound horns parting just enough for Ostrander to offer a simple plea: “Here’s hoping that you get out alive.” Album opener “Electrify My Love” similarly centers on hope for the post-pandemic world, pulling inspiration from OK Computer’s mesh of electronic burble and guitar grind. And as Ostrander reaches a vibrant apex, he’s joined by a choir of backing vocals, the world unifying. "I felt a need to check in on everyone, to hope the record finds them well," he says. "We all need a reset, to put that care first."
No artist has achieved that anthemic focus on empathy and uplift as well as Bruce Springsteen, and Ostrander slots the elegiac “Eyes of Love” proudly into that tradition. The song crests on rapturous waves of guitar and piano, Ostrander wishing he could tell off the gods for what they’ve done. In fact, not long after recording the track, The Boss himself mentioned in an interview that he’d started getting into Mondo Cozmo’s first two albums. “Growing up, Springsteen was like gospel. It was unbelievable,” Ostrander says. “I wrote him a letter about how I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing, but how much I appreciated him listening to the music, not expecting a response, but he wrote back. The boss was literally like, ‘You're doing the right thing. Just keep doing it!’” As if that iconic connection weren’t enough, another song on This Is For the Barbarians called for another letter to be written, this time to Bob Dylan. 
“Dylan had been my very first concert as a kid, and I’ve always loved his music. So when I wrote ‘Good Mornin’ America’ for this record, I just kept referencing him in the lyrics,” Ostrander says. The jammed-to-the-gills track rides its marching beat through anxieties about the pandemic, the injustice of the murder of George Floyd, the January 6th insurrection, and other national wounds—Ostrander marveling at the irony that the people being offered “shelter from the storm” in this midst were the unjust. Whether it's Dylan, Radiohead, the Stone Roses, or Spiritualized, he draws inspiration from the things that he loves and makes it his own.
For an album threaded through by concerns of a darkening world and focused on the loss of a loved one, Ostrander’s fervent love and the joy of music makes This Is For the Barbarians a revelatory, redemptive whirlwind, a mosaic of indie rock power. And as the album closes on the gospel sway of “Lord”, the full weight of hope comes to bear. "I needed to close with that song. It's a joyful release, a celebration of life and moving on," Ostrander says. "That's how I want to remember life, that happiness is within our reach, even when the world feels broken."