Photo by Tom Spray
There is something almost business-like to Cloud Nothings’ live performance. Both frontman Dylan Baldi and bassist TJ Duke are very contained in their movements, whether they are required to be at their mics or just driving out sheets of noise. It is extraordinary to see this limited movement when you consider just how loud they are. But drummer Jayson Gerycz isn’t complicit in this act. He’s a flailing, sweaty mess behind his kit, exuding almost enough personality for the three of them.
It’s not as though Cloud Nothings don’t make an impression live. There is a raw quality to their performance that doesn’t come through even on their already raw albums. Baldi’s voice is curiously dynamic, and has moments of clear, almost pop-like presence such as on “I’m Not Part of Me.” It’s generally restrained by the relatively coarse timbre, and he sometimes abandons all tunefulness in ragged screams such as with “Pattern Walks”.
In that fried vocal there is plenty of energy for the crowd to feed off of, from people who might like to see the band lose it on stage. Or at least there’s one guy trying to start a mosh pit, but he’s actually just shoving people with both hands. But after being at so many gigs where people talk through the set, it’s nice to be at a show where it’s not possible to talk over the music (or, at any rate, to hear other people’s conversations). You’re not going to be able to play the record that loud at home without the neighbors complaining.