GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL, SF
07 JULY, 2014
Cloud Nothings settled into the core of their West Coast swing supporting Here And Nowhere Else with an appearance at the venerable Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, before heading down to LA for a string of Southern California dates. Along for the ride were The Wytches from Brighton and Toronto's mighty METZ. The Wytches kicked things off, previewing tracks from their upcoming debut LP, Annabel Dream Reader, due out in August on Partisan Records over here, and on their home turf in the UK, Heavenly Recordings. Based on their performance, it will be an LP to keep an eye out for. Considering the other bands on the bill, they were facing the right audience for a band playing mostly unheard songs, and a thundering impression was made. METZ, of course, brings the noise, and their sole album to date, a self titled effort on Sub Pop, provided heavy fodder for the huddled masses. "Get Off" and "Knife In The Water" were rousing highlights, and their energy level was unflagging throughout.
Here And Nowhere Else is, at the halfway point, head and shoulders above anything else I've heard this year, and the question was how the new Cloud Nothings tracks would be integrated into the set, and how they would hold up live. Turns out the set was the new album, sans one track, and with a few old cuts to leaven it out...strict Neil Young Rules, no attempt at appeasement offered.The old material that remained was reinvigorated, and songs that would be cornerstones of the sets of most artists were summarily kicked to the curb.
The last time we caught up with Cloud Nothings, near the end of the touring cycle for Attack On Memory, they were not rote, but thoroughly controlled, as if a demonstration of precision rather than a spontaneous explosion. This performance was gloriously messy technically, but suffered from no shortage of sparks. Remaining a trio, they seemed hellbent on making up for the recorded multiple recorded guitar tracks by sheer will alone. After roaring through "Now Hear In" and the anthemic "Quieter Today", they threw the crowd a bone with the older "Stay Useless" before gurning back into the heart of darkness with "Psychic Trauma" and "Giving Into Seeing". The feral jam of "Pattern Walks" was a centerpiece, and things built to a head with the set-closing duo of "No Thoughts" and "I'm Not A Part Of Me". Coming back for an encore, the nailed the audience to the wall with a stripped down version of "Wasted Days" that pretty much wrung out what stuffing remained in the audience.