Words by Olivia Wedderburn
Cloud Nothings returned to Manchester on Thursday at renowned music venue The Deaf Institute. Over the years, Cloud Nothings have built themselves up quite a following through their experimental soundings, backed up with genre-spanning influences from jazz to emo, tailored to a tee in their latest studio album Here and Nowhere Else, released on Carpark Records last month.
Downgraded from quartet to trio after a controversial incident involving ex-member Joe Boyer and a DUI, Cloud Nothings still pack the sound of before and have managed to rework their previous albums to accompany they new line up. This was displayed by their set as they powered through a precise hour, barely taking a moment to breathe, sweat dripping off their faces. “We haven’t played in a country where people speak English or can understand us in a while, so sorry that’s why I’m not talking much,” pipes up frontman Dylan Baldi. This is approximately 40 minutes into the show, and I couldn’t really believe that much time had passed without a spoken word past their lips, but the energy projected through the stage presence obtained the old adage ‘actions speak louder than words’.
The crowd cheer, almost impatiently, egging them onto the next song. Nobody wanted to a minute wasted of this show, echoed by the sizeable mosh pit that erupted almost instantaneously from the beginning of their set. Since their album dropped in April, Cloud Nothings don’t seem to have stopped, almost instantly embarking on a tour and finding themselves incredibly well received for the latest endeavour by many reviewers, with Pitchfork offering up 8.7 out of 10 for their release.
This is only the beginning of a long stint for the Ohio trio as they cross continents for the next few months to play to their ever-expanding fan base. As if their fourth album wasn’t enough to generate excitement amongst fans, the album created between frontman Dylan Baldi and Wavves frontman Nathan Williams is almost done, with the two bands crossing over to make a sound that “wasn’t present in either of their music before”. Fan favourite album Attack on Memory sucked up most of their set list and spilled over into an eight-minute encore for their incredibly built-up track ‘Wasted Days’, a crowd pleaser and encore favourite of the band, which demonstrated their musical prowess.
Watching the band perform was almost exhausting, in the sense that the talent conveyed through playing the trifecta of well, hard and fast was overwhelming. Bassist TJ Duke stole so many parts of the show by his craft, only to be complemented by Baldi’s and drummer Jayson Gerycz’s talents thrown into the cauldron. The crowd was impatient, begging and panting for more when the show shut, sweating themselves almost as profusely as the band after a particularly thrashy hour. Satiated by ‘Wasted Days’, they began to ease up, but the most dedicated hung to the front of the stage, clinging to every note they could hear from start to finish.
The slow migration out of the Deaf Institute stairwell was painted with pleased faces, awestruck by the show. It’s rare to be exposed to shows that carry this much energy in their stride, but somehow manage to polish the sound. The venue, which is built for shows of all description due to a pretty superior sound design team, carried the challenge of Cloud Nothings’ heavier sounds to even their softer tracks (softer in the grand scheme of their repertoire that is). The band continue to develop and adapt album by album and from the direction their shows and studio time is going, I’d hazard a guess it’s going to keep on getting better.