Cloud Nothings at Thalia Hall [REVIEW]

Photo by: Jesse Lirola
Review by: Lejla Subašić

In a place where a nobody desires to be a somebody and the appearance of a somebody wants to go back to be a nobody, forgetting your roots seems to be the common theme in the Cloud Nothings setlist.

With a garage rock myth of primitive, hormonal wrath and a dreary performance that plants the band’s evening at Thalia Hall, there’s not so much of a lyrical exposure to the external focus of the world, but to an exposure internally, with lyrics that contain a sense of emptiness and feeling stuck as instruments radiate that desire of longing.

The occasional distortive high piercing guitar squealing is droning to summon demons as one is oblivious of what’s to come with an anxiety so sharp, anticipating for the next snap to happen as the drumsticks slams onto the drum skin complexly. There is a light (revelation) at the end of the tunnel. The end may be the realization that frontman and principal songwriter Dylan Baldi points to the idea that he is the nobody he’s created, always getting stuck and trying to get out with words containing, “It starts right now, there’s a way I was before//But I can’t recall how I was those days anymore” to the mantra of “They won’t remember my name//I’ll be alone in my shame”.

Baldi orchestrated his own isolation partially hiding his face in a baseball hat, while being surrounded by a full house of claps from some saps and other sources of vitality, with their hair flying, fists pumping, and beer chugging. Baldi thrusts his vocals, as if he’s spent years of his life yelling over a large number of brothers and sisters over the dinner table trying to get a word in.

Cloud Nothings’ kept the jittery listeners on their toes going in no linear direction, demonstrating a chaotic field of togetherness. From the aggressive beginning of the night with a grungy, heavy, fast-moving bang of their song On an Edge, the opening woke their listeners up with a vibration of nihilism, swashed by a sense of a never ending nightmare. They gave the listeners what they wanted: a lengthy encore.

The noise rock tetrad were speedy sons of guns, flexing with their instruments bellicosely. Guitarist Chris Brown broke a guitar string during the encore. The drummer Jayson Gerycz abused the drum set, as it rocked back and forth, but nonetheless, still survived. The throating of Baldi’s vocals seemed to overextend beyond measure. These layers were almost philosophical. All in all, a foam at the mouth with a cherry on top kind of night, motioning on the border of madness and sanity, being a tiny speck placed in this yarn ball of life.

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Set list:

1. On an Edge
2. Leave Him Now
3. In Shame
4. Offer an End
5. The Echo Of The World
6. Dissolution
7. So Right So Clean
8. Another Way of Life
9. Realize My Fate
10. Strange Year
11. Pattern Walks
12. Stay Useless
13. I’m Not Part of Me

14. Wasted Days