Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings


Dylan Baldi and his band have one setting: LOUD. That setting is taken to the nth degree tonight at the Deaf Institute, as Cloud Nothings arrive in Manchester to support their stellar new album Life Without Sound (insert joke about my life without sound after this deafening gig etc). This is, in absolutely no way, any kind of criticism by the way; if you go to a Cloud Nothings gig and don’t get a loud, frenetic set, you’d be pretty gutted. The band are propelled by Dylan Baldi’s guitar shredding and sometimes unhinged wail, and even more so by the drumming of Jason Gerycz. Wow, the drumming. All throughout tonight’s gig it is extraordinary, sometimes distractingly so as I watch Gerycz, mesmerised by just how hard and fast he’s hitting his kit without ever missing a beat. I spoke glowingly of the Preoccupations’ drummer a few months back – this was as good a performance as that, leading from behind to push the band ever forward.

Introductions and between song chat are kept to a minimum. The band aren’t here to talk to us, they’re here to fire us up through sheer volume and energy, getting through about 13 songs in just under an hour, and it’s an absolute blast. The new songs sound heavy and more driven than they do on the album, with opener ‘Up To The Surface’ somewhat ironically stating, “I came up to the surface”, something Baldi’s lyrics don’t always do tonight due to the sheer force of his band. The end to that song on the album has always, disconcertingly, reminded me of that Coldplay song ‘Viva La Vida’, with it’s jangly guitars (just listen, it’s hard to un-notice once you’ve heard it, soz), but tonight it goes into the murk of the whole band’s sound and is transformed into a dirge so far away from Coldplay that the comparison is laughable. ‘Sight Unseen’ and ‘Modern Act’ from the new album sound similarly heavier than on the LP, particularly the latter which is actually quite a light pop moment on record, and the shout along chorus of “I want a life that’s all I need lately, I am alive but all alone” thundered back at him by the bouncing crowd.

It’s tame compared to some of the tracks aired from Here and Nowhere Else and Attack on Memory, where the sold out crowd go nuts, so much so that for the first time in an age I can actually feel the floor bouncing as the kids down front start to form a mini circle pit, shoving and pushing each other, lost in the power of ‘I’m Not Part of Me’ and ‘Pattern Walks’, the latter a particularly ferocious version with some top notch string shredding from Baldi whipping the crowd up into a frenzy. By the time it gets to the refrain of “Pattern walks! Pattern walks!” my voice is starting to go as I realise I’ve been hollering along to every big chorus all night, barely able to hear myself over the force of the band.

They end with ‘Realise My Fate’, the slow burning end to Life Without Sound which features some of Baldi’s best black metal throaty wails of the night, and some of the most epic drumming – a final release for the sweating, moshing bodies near the stage, shouting “I believe in something bigger” along with Baldi, a heavy end to a heavy evening. I leave, beaming and checking my ears still work (wear earplugs kids!), grateful that bands with one setting still exist. I like LOUD, I like it a lot, and there aren’t much better around at doing it with such force and conviction as Cloud Nothings.

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