2003 was a hell of a year—MySpace, UGGs, TWO Matrix movies, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But none of those cultural milestones mattered if you were a sweaty, angsty youth who listened to far too much 93X. At least not as much as nu-metal band Cold leaving their swampy-ass home of Florida and heading to Minneapolis in February to film a music video for “Stupid Girl.” The song was co-written with Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and was the first single off Cold’s album, Year of the Spider. (According to the Chinese zodiac, 2003 was actually the year of the goat.)
The video’s chosen setting was Bancroft Elementary School, because nothing says nu metal quite like an elementary school. It begins with a few seconds of love-stricken youths telling of their heartaches before cutting to the band playing in front of a ravenous group of locally-sourced Cold fans as a massive Year of the Spider banner unfurls behind them.
Throughout the video, the camera pans to the crowd showing fans singing along and throwing up “the horns” (as one does while watching a nu metal at an elementary school playground). Absent from that crowd was friend and occasional Racket photographer Bryan Frank. His parents wouldn’t let him go.
Last night, Cold returned to Minneapolis (with nicer weather conditions this time) to play the 7th St. Entry. The sold-out show was part of Cold’s Year of the Spider 20th Anniversary tour. But for me, it was an opportunity to right a two-decade-old wrong by bringing Bryan to live out his 13-year-old self’s wildest dreams. Now 33, he no longer needs his parents’ permission to go watch nu metal.
Sitting in The Depot before the show “enjoying” some fittingly cold fries and a hot dog (they must have a… stupid grill), I learned that Bryan wasn’t the only one whose parents said no to nu metal. Our other pals who were joining us for the show, Jim and Jess, were also still bitter about missing it. This would be a redeeming night for all three.
For those lucky Cold fans whose parents didlet them stand in the frigid February air in 2003, last night was no doubt about hoping to relive those moments. And on that front, Cold certainly came through. The crowd went wild as soon as the band—singer and only remaining original member Scooter Ward, bassist Lindsay Manfredi, guitarists Tony Kruszka and Angelo Maruzzelli, and drummer Ed Cuozzo—walked on stage.
“Twenty years ago, we wrote a record called Year of the Spider,” Ward told the audience. “And it was the first time I had the opportunity to travel the world and hear your stories about how much Cold’s music meant to you. So before we start, I’d like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
The band began working through the album, kicking things off with the opening track, “Remedy.” While Ward’s voice sounded strong as ever after all these years, it was drowned out as soon as the chorus started. The band cut out entirely for the final chorus so the loyal sold-out crowd could really show its might. Those in attendance spanned a fairly wide age range, including what appeared to be several two-generation fan families (fanimilies?), and at times, their volume reached (or surpassed) what you’d expect to hear in the Mainroom.
Before going into the second song, “Suffocate,” Ward welcomed Sierra Swan to the stage to sing her guest part, just like on the record. Swan has worked with big names like Dollshead and Black Eyed Peas, and she most recently sang vocals across the new album from Smashing Pumpkins, ATUM. But her guest vocalist career began on Cold’s 13 Ways to Bleed Onstage, and her voice fell beautifully into sync with Ward’s just as it had 20 years prior.
The last few notes of “Suffocate” rang out, and the chunky, cacophonous opening riff of “Stupid Girl” began. I looked over at Bryan and saw a stupid grin appear on his face. Now, it’s worth noting that neither Bryan nor I are actually current Cold fans. Before the show, we were both struggling to remember when the last time we even heard them was prior to revisiting Year of the Spider in preparation for the show. But that didn’t matter as the rest of “Stupid Girl” kicked in because that’s the thing with nostalgia: It just feels very fucking cool. Seeing a band you liked during your formative years play a song you repeatedly heard on the radio just unlocks a sort of innate joy in your now fully formed brain. The proof was in our pudding-faced grins.
Bryan Frank finally gets the nu metal he was denied. Photo by Joel Swenson.
“Stupid Girl” sounded great, but even if it sounded like shit, our reaction likely would’ve been the same. I was expecting Ward to shout out the Minneapolis video shoot but no such luck. I caught up with him briefly after the show, and he provided some insight into why.
“Honestly, I don’t really remember much from that time,” he told me. “I just recall I wanted to film it somewhere really fucking cold so I could see my breath while I sang.”
Throughout the rest of Cold’s set, Ward spoke openly about his struggles with addiction, a likely factor in his hazy memory. He’d take a break every few songs to give some background on the next song or to tell stories, some from his own life, others from fans.
He recalled writing “Sad Happy” after a teenage fan began following Cold on tour to escape her abusive father. Before a stripped-down version of “Cure My Tragedy,” he spoke of his sister’s lifelong battle with cancer, one that’s recently taken a turn for the worse. Before “The Day Seattle Died,” he recalled a time when Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley came to a Cold show in Seattle on Halloween dressed as a fisherman, and Ward knew he wouldn’t be around much longer.
During the encore, Ward recalled driving to a secluded spot along the ocean with the intention of ending his own life when a piano melody popped into his head. He took a moment to record himself humming it before his thoughts turned to his unborn daughter (who now tours with Cold, handling merch duties) and how he needed to stick around for her. That melody eventually turned into “Different Kind of Pain.”
“People always tell me how much our music has saved them over the years,” he said. “And I get it because it’s done the same for me.”
The final song of the evening was “Wasted Years,” which deals with Ward’s history of addiction. Although the rest of the encore did drag on a bit, “Wasted Years,” performed by just Ward and the two guitarists, was a perfect way to end the show. The crowd seemed to agree as they somehow managed to sing louder than they had all night. And it allowed Cold’s drummer a chance to hop next door and catch the end of Hot Chip’s set in the Mainroom.
RemedySuffocate (featuring Sierra Swan)Stupid GirlDon’t BelongWhatever You BecameSad HappyRain SongThe Day Seattle DiedCure My Tragedy (A Letter to God)Black SundayChange the WorldKill the Music Industry
Gone AwayJust Got WickedNo One (featuring Sierra Swan)You Got Away (Sierra Swan cover, featuring Sierra Swan)A Different Kind of PainHappens All the TimeWasted Years