By Jim Easterhouse

Although Cleveland indie rock ensemble Cloud Nothings recently initiated a world tour promoting their new album, Life Without Sound, XRT enthusiasts have had the opportunity to intimately track the band’s progression months before they took the stage at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

While Cloud Nothings, fronted by founder, Dylan Baldi, settled in on stage, backed by white headlights and a blue illuminating drum kit, I instantly recalled spectating their exclusive Big Beat Sneak Peak performance at the Virgin Hotel on November 29th. Hosted by Heineken and XRT, this set allowed winning listeners the opportunity to watch Cloud Nothings thrash through songs in their catalog while sharing a collective performance space in the hotel.

With that performance in mind, Cloud Nothings starting their Friday night set with 2012’s “No Future / No Past” was even more striking. Expecting to witness a mosh pit of the countless twenty somethings in attendance upon the band starting its set, I was intrigued to see fans steadily increase their energy with every strum and cymbal struck by Baldi and company. Through the first two minutes of the tune, Cloud Nothings had already summoned an organically in-tuned audience, obediently bobbing their heads while waiting for the song to reach a climatic thrash.

Authentic energy might not seem so substantial, but it was impressive to witness the connectivity between Cloud Nothings and its audience. By the time “No Future / No Past” concluded and the band delivered “Sight Unseen” and “Modern Act” off of Life Without Sound, fans seemed to be as familiar with Cloud Nothings new material as the arsenal they’ve been performing over the past five years.

Having heard (and blasted) “Modern Act” on XRT on numerous occasions this year, I was quickly captivated by the song’s rapid riffs and Baldi’s raspy verses, which given the uptempo nature of Cloud Nothings, were both accelerated live. The Thalia Hall crowd followed suit, as multiple attendees crowd surfed through absorbing mosh pits throughout the rest of the set.

By the time Cloud Nothings returned for an encore after an abbreviated stint off stage and performed “Fall In” and “Stay Useless,” the performance contained a “greatest hits” aura, with fans animatedly singing along with each chorus off of the tracks from 2012’s Attack on Memory. The combination of those renditions with the grit of the new tune “Realize My Fate” made for a riveting encore that encapsulated a well-rounded showcase overall of Cloud Nothings.


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