IMG_0951by JJ Posway

Privileged with a press pass to Cloud Nothings’ opening set for Cherub Rock! A Smashing Pumpkins Tribute Silversun Pickups, I expected more material to cover. Sadly, they played only four songs to a frustratingly indifferent crowd, though this wasn’t their fault. A stubborn sound man and numerous technical difficulties forced an abridged set. “That’s what it’s like touring with these guys,” frontman Dylan Baldi stated afterwards.

The Ohio pop-punkers-turned-first-wave emo also had to double their T-Shirt prices, as well as follow the most generic opening act ever assembled, Atlas Genius. Requirements for joining Atlas Genius are as follows:

  1. Must be good-looking
  2. Must be semi-familiar with Maroon 5
  3. Must throw around the word “funky” a lot during band practice

Though still disappointingly short, their set wasn’t a 15 minute affair. Opener “Fall In” segued into it’s live, lengthy “Separation” outro and a roughly 10-minute “Wasted Days” closed the set. The song’s pent-up frustration was palpable. Perhaps the frustration stemmed from the band locking their keys in the touring van, forcing bassist TJ Duke to run around the venue arranging for its unlock. Seemingly calm though, TJ held a steady beat along with drummer/merch-salesman/contender-for-nicest-guy-ever, Jayson Gerycz, while Baldi and lead guitarist Joe Boyer hunched over their wildly-distorted guitars.

As any worthwhile live band should, they intensified their studio material. The band increased the urgency of their poppiest Attack on Memory cut, “Fall In,” and even though Live at the Grog gave away the “Separation” outro before I could witness it, the segue was so well executed it retained its surprise. “Our Plans” ascended to anthemic heights on stage, making up for the admission of 2012’s greatest single, “Stay Useless,” and their sprawling rendition of “Wasted Days” just killed, its climax incendiary.

While the band tore down, I reflected on the changes since last I’d seen them, opening for Toro Y Moi at the 40 Watt – a show that incited audible groans from Baldi and Duke on two separate occasions. “We had just learned those songs,” Baldi admitted. Gerycz couldn’t even swing that tour, necessitating a fill-in drummer.

This the rhythm section explained to me, still high off first viewing of their official “Fall In” video, released earlier that day. Stoic performing. Dancers convulsing. Make-out sessions. Nothing like their emphatic live show (though the Atlas Genius guys were probably doing some making out backstage). A well-done video, for a hard-working band.

They’ve been touring in support of Attack on Memory for most of the year, and though they had the next day off, they were off to Baltimore after that, gigging steadily until early November. Still Baldi promises they’ll be back, playing a longer set soon. I’m holding him to that.