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Cold War Kids draw Double Decker crowds Saturday night

The 2018 Double Decker Arts and Music Festival closed out with a bang on Saturday night, after a day of record crowds descending on the Square.

After New Orleans funk group Tank and the Bangas completed their set, honky tonk country artist Whitey Morgan took the main stage on South Lamar Boulevard. Morgan brought his soulful song stylings to the crowd, which grew as festival vendors began closing up shop after a day of record sales. He played hits from his 2015 album Sonic Ranch, including “Waitin’ Round to Die,” and “Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels.”

Alternative blues band Houndmouth took the stage following Morgan. Double Decker was the band’s last tour date, and according to drummer Shane Cody, the show was their way of coming full-circle.

“We played at Proud Larry’s during our first tour, so we know the Square pretty well,” Cody said. “I got some of that Proud Larry’s jambalaya, so it’s been a great trip back.”

Crowds sang along to a few of the band’s hits, including “Sedona” and “Darling,” as well as some new songs. Houndmouth has been working on a new album, which Cody said will be released “soonish.”

After Houndmouth’s set, it was time for headliner Cold War Kids to take the Ole Miss Student Activities Association stage. The California-based band is currently on tour promoting their new album LA Divine, which features their latest singles “Love is Mystical” and “So Tied Up,” a call-and-response number featuring Scottish songstress Bishop Briggs.

“It’s our second time to Oxford – we were here about five years ago at the Lyric,” frontman Nathan Willetts said. “A lot of things have changed, but we’re excited to be here at more of a big outdoor thing and not a small club thing.”

Although the band flew in from Los Angeles in the wee hours Saturday morning, Willetts said they spent the day on the Square, enjoying the Double Decker festivities with fans.

Cold War Kids played their hit single “First,” from their 2014 album Hold My Home, as well as a spirited rendition of Rhianna’s “Love on the Brain” that had the record-breaking audience singing along.

The concert wrapped up around 10 p.m., but revelers on the Square kept partying into the night as crews began returning Oxford’s downtown to normal.

Mayor Robyn Tannehill, who has been instrumental in making Double Decker what it is today, said this past weekend was the best festival Oxford’s ever seen, with more people and more vendors than ever before.

“I will have to say this 23rd Double Decker Arts Festival is the best one we’ve ever had,” Tannehill said. “We used to have a mid-afternoon lull, but there’s not a lull anymore. I think partnering with the SAA has been tremendous, and I think you can tell the success of that partnership by the crowd.”