Thursday night before 4th of July at Neumos, you could tell who watched the show from the safety of the balcony from those on the floor strictly based on the quantity of sweat dripping from their clothes upon leaving the premises. I can't speak much for the casual observers above, but between the handful of stage divers and crowd surfers, the constant swell of the mosh pit, and the tidal surge of the crowded group piling towards the stage at full force, I can say the floor had a damned good time. Headed by Cleveland indie punk act Cloud Nothings, Thursday night was a three piece bill that you couldn't have hand picked better. Nearly as many in the crowd came for Ontario-based Sub Pop hardcore act METZ as they did for Cloud Nothings, and not a bit of energy was held back for openers The Wytches. Brilliant and blistering from beginning to end, Cloud Nothings and their two stellar supporting acts made Thursday's sold out endeavor a near-unbeatable start to the three day weekend.English psych-rock band The Wytches opened up the evening with an instantly likable set of rock and roll magic. The band is set to release a full-length debut in the form of Annabel Dream Reader this August on Partisan. If their live set is any premonition of what we'll see there, then it's going to be one to keep on the radar. Their unique mixture of vintage garage and 60s art rock makes for a great combo. The band broke out released singles live "Beehive Queen" and "Crying Clown" and mixed in plenty of new stuff without ever losing the crowd's attention. It would really be hard to after all, with all of the brilliant guitar and bass interplay between singer Kristian Bell and bassist Daniel Rumsey. The Wytches got the evening off to a great start, and I'm sure we'll be revisiting them towards the end of August when Annabel Dream Reader drops.
METZ do not mess around. After a slightly timid crowd response to opener "Dirty Shirt", Alex Edkins was like, "Alright, that's not an option, let's get it going". And as "Knife In The Water" dropped, his wish was Neumos' command, as the place lit up like a lightbulb, and the floor immediately dissolved into joyous chaos. METZ threw a killer show. It wasn't just the chaos on the floor instigating it, though - the band on stage was a cloud of energy you didn't want to fight if you didn't have to. While Hayden and Chris kept the pulse, Alex was as commanding of a frontman you can be in a three-piece act while doubling as a lead guitarist. It's really a bit difficult to process how much sound these guys throw forward with just the three of them, but no one was complaining. From beginning to end, METZ kept the volume at max and the energy even higher. Cloud Nothings definitely had their work cut out for them if topping METZ was on the evening's agenda.
Dylan Baldi has brought Cloud Nothings along way since its humble bedroom beginnings. In fact, its current incarnation, material pre-dating 2012's Attack on Memory isn't even on the table. New Cloud Nothings record Here and Nowhere Else picks up where Attack left off, tunneling deeper down the grunge rabbit hole, exploring the peculiarity of being a twenty-something in the modern day over increasingly fuzzy guitar lines. Regardless, not much was missed in the hour-long set this evening, as Baldi and his two bandmates tore the roof off with a nonstop assault of punk bliss. Drummer Jason Gerycz rocked an impossibly small kit, considering the amount of noise he pumped out of it. Armed with bass, snare, two cymbals, and a single tom, the guy was a blur behind Baldi and bassist TJ Duke, especially on the merciless Here track "Psychic Trauma". Baldi limited his amount of crowd participation to a minimum, but his music did the talking for him. The crowd flipped when Attack classic "Fall In" appeared in the mix, and all of Neumos sang along to the wonderful Here lead single "I'm Not A Part of Me". But upon returning for an encore, the trio really showed off their chops with an extended version of Attack epic "Wasted Days". Here in a blitzkrieg fury and gone with a wave, Cloud Nothings put on quite a show.
It’s Sunday night, July 6, 2014, and I’m front and center at the Paramount Theater waiting for New Order to hit the stage. The lights are dim as techs move back and forth across the stage, checking guitars and synthesizers and making sure everything’s in its right place. Meanwhile, the tour DJ pl...
What I'm about to write sounds corny — let's just get it out of the way right now that I know that. I know the Kraftwerk catalog like the back of my hand, but, I have to say, despite this lifelong familiarity, seeing them live for the first time ever, and in 3-D, no less, I felt like I was experi...