Cloud Nothings

support De Høje Hæle
author TL date 11/08/12 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

It's Saturday evening and you've been typing for hours. You have a deadline agreement with your supervisor who wants to see your finished master's thesis on Monday and you're still some thirty pages away. What do you do? ... Well, if you're anything like me (a total idiot who will spend the next 3 days typing non-stop as well) you go "deadline-schmeadline!" and head to town to catch the show with Cleveland indie/punk/rock quartet Cloud Nothings, soon arriving early at Beta, in time to have a few cold ones. There are not a lot of people here to begin with, making it seem logical that the show was bounced down from Lille Vega. Clearly, the Danish scene is ever lagging behind, having not gotten the memo about Cloud Nothings being one of the best new bands nobody's heard about. Before the Americans have the chance to prove this however, there's the matter of their support for the evening:

De Høje Hæle

De Høje Hæle

De Høje Hæle (The High Heels) are a local trio who clearly, from their name over their sound, their appearance and the nature of this set, look extremely comfortable with being just that: A local band playing small, fun shows to those in the know. Their sound is a retro sort of punk-pop which is comparable to rather few famous bands, yet I'd suggest that fans of the likes of The Hives, The Ramones or Chixdiggit could find something to their taste here. The songs appear simplistic, build around traditional formulas and bright, fuzzy chord-progressions, yet DHH show an understanding for how to mix things up curiously, by throwing in quirky tempo changes and crunchy bridges that consistently up the intensity when they come around. The music is almost exclusively up-beat, which makes for a good on/off dynamic when contrasted by the utterly relaxed behaviour of the band between sets. They clearly have not agreed on a rigid setlist beforehand, rather deciding on playing songs both old and new as they go along, and to their credit they do so with few screw-ups, and the ones there are, are corrected quickly and in a manner that suggests that the guys are both well-rehearsed and have played shows for a long time. If I were to complain about anything it would be that some of the lyrics are so simple they almost feel like pointless inclusions, and that there's hardly a lot of variation on offer here, but this would be nitpicking at a set that is mostly just a surprisingly good time.

7

Cloud Nothings' Dylan Baldi

Cloud Nothings

Fast-forwarding past the changeover, it quickly becomes apparent that Cloud Nothings are not interested in playing a show characterised by rock and roll clichés, as their set exhibits a number of curious choices. For starters, the band kicks off the set with "Fall In", one of the catchiest songs off their newest album "Attack On Memory" - an album which will provide all the material at tonight's set by the way. Then, as soon as they have the now decent sized crowd interested, they depart entirely from the catchy approach, playing the instrumental "Separation" and then the full 9 minutes of "Wasted Days", endlessly droning bridge and everything. And it's magnificent. From the word go, the band plays with an intensity that seems to shift up in gear ever so slightly, yet clearly noticeably, in a constant upward spiral. The bait-and-tease of "Wasted Days" is a perfect example of this, as we get all swept up in the first two rounds of the chorus, only to get more and more stoked, bordering finally on impatient frustration, when the bridge finally gives way for the final gritty refrains. Okay, so the lead guitar melodies are sadly almost inaudible beneath the feedback of frontman Dylan Baldi's guitar, it hardly matters, half the crowd still loses it like they've been woken up from a hypnosis in which they've been brainwashed to go nuts at the snap of a finger.

Jayson Gerycz on the drums

From then on it's smooth sailing, because Cloud Nothing's essentially have us right where they want us, with everybody having been introduced to the fact that, although these guys can be catchy and melodic, there's a brooding, raging energy to them that must also come out. Furthermore, it must be noted that everybody probably also has a new perspective on how much a drummer can contribute to the power of music, because drummer Jayson Gerycz is flat out murdering his kit tonight, providing a lot of the power to the band's punches. It seems contradictory but it still works when the show gradually gets a little slower and more moody towards the end, as "Our Plans", "No Sentiment" and finally "No Future No Past" form up the rear of the set. The immersive trip from excitement to catharsis is complete, short yet sweet and with an encore clearly out of the question, as Gerycz starts picking his kit apart while people are still shouting for more. In case it hasn't come across yet: When people talk about shows that have authenticity and frenetic energy and are flat out cool, shows like this one are what they're talking about.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest. See more of his work from the gig here.

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