Cloud Nothings Let It All Hang Out

March 28th, 2012

Cloud Nothings – Mercury Lounge – March 27, 2012

Following the release of their much-loved latest album, Attack on Memory, and riding the wave of some serious post-SXSW buzz, Cloud Nothings hit the stage at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday night with little to prove, but proved it nonetheless. Kicking off things with the anthem “Stay Useless,” the band immediately made it apparent just how tight they are live. Repeating bass lines were paired perfectly with the hard slap of the snare drum. Such tightness amplified the sound of everything, making each instrument seem as loud as can be yet still distinguishable from the rest.

Playing with almost rhythmically mechanical precision made the noise and distortion of their guitars seem that much more deliberate. This was especially true during the frantic improvised guitar jams of “Fall In” and “Wasted Days.” When it seemed impossible for Cloud Nothings to play any louder or faster, they did again and again. Applause finally came during the final cool-down period of “Wasted Days,” which easily could have been mistaken for the climax of the song only five minutes earlier. In an era in which people have access to almost all the music in the world for free, it’s refreshing to know that young bands can still come around and make people realize what they’ve been missing.

There’s a level of unabashed punk-rock ballsiness to Cloud Nothings that hasn’t necessarily been a mainstay of indie rock for some time. And it’s not in the group’s stage persona or in the way they act, but it’s entirely channeled through the way they play their music live. It was fewer than three years ago that lead singer Dylan Baldi started writing music between classes at Case Western Reserve University, and the rest of Cloud Nothings came together toward the end of 2009. But with a bright future ahead of them, this is only the end of band’s beginning. —Dan Rickershauser