May 29, 2004

Cold Sees Changes, Rocks Chicago Suburbs

By Randy J. Klodz

Jacksonville, Fla.-based hard-rockers Cold made a special Chicago area appearance on May 29, a rare suburban performance at the intimate, and newly relocated Durty Nellie’s in Palatine.

Though that band may have released its greatest album, “Year of the Spider” in 2003, the band has taken a few blows within the last six months. Earlier this year, original guitarist Terry Balsamo parted ways and joined rockers Evanescence. Eddie Rendini, the lanky guitarist, formerly of Darwin’s Waiting Room has since taken Balsamo’s position. The line-up took another hit two months later, Kelly Hayes, the other of the two original Cold guitarists has also parted ways with the band. Also, on the business spectrum, Cold and its record label Geffen Records have also parted ways, with the band reportedly seeking another label for future work on an upcoming album.

With all that going on, Cold lit up the Durty Nellie’s Back Room venue—which opened last December—and the band hasn’t missed a step. Cold, which also features drummer Sam McCandless and bassist Jeremy Marshall, is led by Cold’s slender, bald-headed singer Scooter Ward, who led the band through an hour-long set packed with hits from the band’s 1998 self-titled debut, 2000’s “13 Ways to Bleed Onstage” and the aforementioned “Year of the Spider.”

Ward, with his emphatic lyrics, spent most of the show with both his hands gripping the microphone, either on his knees in emotion, or hunched over howling, in his deep, yet beautifully brooding singing voice, one of which has drawn comparisons to the voice of Staind singer Aaron Lewis.

Ward, usually one to not chatter between songs, was sure to thank the crowd after every song for the support, and often dedicated songs to the topics in which he originally wrote them. “This one is dedicated to two people we idolize,” Ward said to the crowd, “Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley,” before ripping into “The Day Seattle Died,” a song written in the memory of the late grunge singers.

Cold was sure to mix in older material such as “Serial Killer,” “Good Bye Cruel World,” “Confession” and “Insane,” to name a few, while busting out a few surprises along the way. The lanky Eddie Rendini often swung his guitar and jumped about during heavy tracks “Suffocate” and “No One.” Before ripping into “Kill the Music Industry,” the guitarist began to play what seemed to be the introduction to “Stupid Girl,” the band’s MTV hit from “Year of the Spider,” which may have been an indirect hit directed toward the band’s former record label. “Stupid Girl” was not part of the set.

Three-fourths into the show, each of the band members left the stage, with Ward returning alone, this time with an electric guitar to play a solo version of “Bleed,” the final track on “13 Ways to Bleed on Stage.” Cold also played a new track, titled “With My Mind” which appears on Midway’s “ESPionage” video game.

With this strong Durty Nellie’s show, Cold is showing music fans across the world that it is going to take more than line-up shake-ups and record label arguments to keep it from being one of the hardest working acts in rock. For more information on Cold log on to www.coldonline.com.

Scooter Ward of Cold Photo: Randy J. Klodz