Cloud Nothings @ Band on the Wall


Cloud Nothings, a four strong indie rock outfit from Cleveland, Ohio, have always been on the periphery of my musical scope. Having only vaguely listened to their hard hitting, angsty 2012 album Attack on Memory, I’m keen to get the full flavour of Baldi and co. via the live setting.

Right from the get go, I’m impressed with the levels of noise this band can achieve. The drummer has a jazzy quality which paired with a jet engine-like attitude towards twatting the skins, makes for an enthralling experience; the guy’s an animal.

Rifling through tunes from their latest record, Last Building Burning (2018), it’s clear they’re a group who play from the heart, and seep passion for the craft straight through their slacker loins. Similar to Philadelphia group Beach Slang, who similarly pummel with unapologetic aggression and anxious charisma, Cloud Nothings are certainly striking my eternal punk chords.

Explaining to the crowd that they haven’t done anything all day and it’s nice to finally do something, front man Dylan Baldi is in good spirits and it’s clear they’re finding great joy in playing for the small but engaged Manchester crowd. Band on the Wall is an interesting venue, the live room itself away from the hipsterish bar is like a model of a large theatre, old school columns ‘n’ all.

With screeching guitars in melancholic fury, the denim entwined Baldi is absolutely smashing it. His voice sounds like its gonna give out every song, but not in a bad way. If you listen to their records, every track has at least one section of absolute vocal insanity. Baldi screams his words with such venom it’s hard not to feel emotionally connected to the guy and egg him on through his own despair, searching for some sort of redemption.

This certainly becomes apparent during the second half of the set, with Baldi stating, “Now we’re gonna play songs that would be on our greatest hits, if we were a more popular band” (or something along those lines).

Obvious highlights during this period, where people are really getting into it, include ‘Stay Useless’ and the final song via the encore ‘Wasted Days’. Clocking in around 10 minutes, the rendition of arguably one of their most popular songs is an absolute blast. Live, this song is even more anthemic, once again the vocals as the song goes on get scratchier and more demented and it’s fucking great. Uplifting and simultaneously disturbing.

All in all, Cloud Nothings are a fantastic live act. Aggressive, tight, passionate and not ones for beating around the bush with on stage chivalry or non-music related antics. Their music alone carries as much if not more presence than the performance of someone like Idles, for example, and that’s not a dig against those beautiful boys either; the Nothings just don’t need to flail.

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC