By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER – While their new album, Life Without Sound, might be a touch more pop-focussed and mid-tempo, live Cloud Nothings’ stripped-down, no-frills approach made for a show that went by quickly and energized a crowd that seemed to need it. Cloud Nothings stripped things bare. There was little in the way in between banter, a fact that singer Dylan Baldi acknowledged near the end of the set, and little in the way of over-the-top performance. Nothing meandered, and the pace rarely lifted. The new songs, sped up a touch (aided by the possibly-a-touch-overzealous drumming) fit in with the earlier music just right and the crowd responded strongly to both.
Cloud Nothings tap into a feeling of hopelessness and fear that seems particularly of the moment currently, a lot of their choruses relying on a short repetition of phrases to emphasize the emotional undercurrent. Whether it’s just repeating “Line by line” from Life Without Sound’s “Darkened Rings” or “I want a life, that’s all I need lately / I am alive but all alone” from “Modern Acts,” this repetition builds to an intensity that pushes towards emotional release. When singer Baldi and the crowd repeat, “I thought I would be more than this!” over and over again in increasing intensity like on pre-encore closer “Wasted Days” (a standout of the set) one really sees the emotional cathartic appeal of the band. This is further emphasized on the final song of the encore, “No Future/No Past,” which repeated its title into a final crescendo, leaving the audience a sweaty, drained mess.Biltmore Cabaret, Cloud Nothings