Cloud Nothings: Live

By: Jack Stein

Friday, April 6, 2012 / Schuba’s Tavern / Chicago, IL

* * *

I’m sitting here with a stupid grin on my face, ears ringing, blasting Attack on Memory from puny MacBook speakers, typing away. Hopefully this can capture the immediacy and frenetic nature of seeing Cloud Nothings live last night, which turned out to be a wise $10 investment in one of the most refreshingly raw performances I’ve witnessed in awhile.

It is remarkably satisfying when someone or something fulfills your most basal and modest expectations, not trying to overcompensate for anything, just being. Cloud Nothings did just that. They are well aware they are four undergraduate aged dudes from Cleveland whose Fugazi-indebted brand of hardcore sounds best LOUD. While seemingly every aspiring artist swathes their songs in sheets of static or obscures their vocals with globs of reverb, Dylan Baldi & co. want you to feel their music, pretense be damned. As such, these guys sound as if they formed in ’92, rather than being born that year.

The dingy, filled-to-the-brim Schuba’s Tavern was the perfect locale to witness Cloud Nothings’ caustic yet infectious punk firsthand. They barreled through a brisk 45-minute set, playing nearly all of the outstanding Attack on Memory. The best cuts were those that walked the tightrope between pop profiency and grating noise, recalling recent forebears such as …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead in the process. “Stay Useless” kicked off the set with its earworm hooks and Baldi’s pained yelps, with things getting progressively, gloriously more tumultuous as the set continued. By the time Cloud Nothings closed with the epic one-two of “Wasted Days” and song-of-year-contender “No Future, No Past”, the floor was buckling, the mosh pit was roiling, and this writer had the same stupid grin on his face. We need more bands like Cloud Nothings.

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