Cloud Nothings are one of the only bands in the world that can pull off the lazy, slacker, punk rock deal and still keep me interested. In a world of trends and gimmicks, one of the most stale of recent years is the resurgence of scuzzy, grungy punk rock that spends far too much of it’s time pretending not to give a shit.
Cloud Nothings on the other hand are everything that embody the spirit of scuzzy, grungy rock. Not since Sonic Youth have I seen a band so adept at making loud, senseless drone sound great.
Frontman Dylan Baldi is a quiet, withdrawn feller who admits his lyrics are not ‘well thought out’, and doesn’t care too much for crowd interaction. After the success of their second album Attack on Memory and the recent release of follow up Here and Nowhere Else, Baldi and his two man backing band hit the stage of Oxford Art Factory in Sydney to a packed house ahead of their Meredith festival appearance.
THE OTHER GUYS
We rocked up just in time to see support act Palms bounce on stage. Palms are a band who have settled upon a pretty basic yet successful formula. 3 chords, lot’s of whoa-oh’s and good times. Whilst somewhat repetitive in nature, there were a few standout tracks from the set, including the powerful LOVE, which had the entire crowd jumping and the obligatory beer spray from the over excited lads behind us. A good warm up for the onslaught of the senses which was about to come.
Cloud Nothings waste no time with niceties or introductions as the curtain raises, instead opting to burst into Stay Useless from their first album Attack on Memory. It was pretty much an aural assault from that point on, as Baldi and co blazed through their set with an intensity that was not lost on the Sydney crowd, who immediately launched into fits of mosh. I don’t know if ‘fits of mosh’ is the correct term, but I feel it suitably sums up the reaction.
Swapping song for song between tracks from Attack on Memory and Here and Nowhere Else, Baldi didn’t offer a lot in way of emotion/crowd interaction or onstage enthusiasm, content to stand and deliver his trademark screech whilst drummer Jayson Gerycz had most of the audience transfixed on his unbelievable speed and skill behind the kit. I still feel exhausted just thinking about Gerycz’ monumental effort on the sticks.
The set began with the more uptempo tracks such as Fall In and Pattern Walks, before transitioning into some more emotional stuff, including the dirge-like track No Future/No Past, which slowly built in tempo and excitement, leaving the sweaty moshers at the front at fever pitch by the time the chorus dropped to an outbreak of circle pits and stage divers.
Cloud Nothings have built a reputation around set-finisher Wasted Days, an 8 minute epic from their first album which is a perfect showcase of everything that Cloud Nothings are good for. Tortured vocals, manic drums, driving bass and a monumental build to an explosion of a finish which ultimately ended in a lot of sweaty shirts, bruised ribs and spilled beer.
Drummer Jayson Gerycz has to take out the award for best on ground after the gig. Starting with a light grey t-shirt, Gerycz soon went about turning that shirt a darker shade, thrashing his way through the hour long set. Baldi himself in interviews makes mention of Gerycz’status as a crowd favourite. Statements like “Cloud Nothings have a reputation as an amazing live band” are honestly countered by “You mean the drummer, yeah”. He certainly didn’t disappoint tonight, with his fills on Fall In a definite standout of the night.
“Someone’s lost their wallet, who’s is that?”
– Palms Frontman Al Grigg
“Mine, it’s mine!”
– 12 different punters at once
WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE