Cloud Nothings | Live at The Corner

I made it to The Corner inexcusably late, missing openers Power, and making it just in time to catch Sydney-siders Palms kicking the arse out of their brilliant track, Love. Singer Al Griggs (formerly of Red Riders) might as well have trained alongside Kurt Cobain at the University of Yelling Like A Fucking Maniac, such was the strength and quality of his strangled howl during the chorus. Drummer Tom Wallace (also a Red Riders alumnus) worked in lockstep with bassist Brendan Walsh to provide a galloping backbeat to the whole set, while Dion Ford served up a smorgasbord of red-hot licks to satisfy the crowd. As a support act they did their job wonderfully, warming up the crowd and making sure headliners Cloud Nothings would have their work cut out for them.

For their part, Cloud Nothings didn’t slip. Walking on stage to the ethereal sounds of religious chanting, the dorky threesome burst immediately into Now Hear In, the opening track from their killer 2014 album Here and Nowhere Else. The moshing started in earnest with the one-two punch of Stay Useless and Psychic Trauma and didn’t let up for the next hour as we were bombarded with driving riffs, raucous drums and stray Doc Martens.

The audience seemed to reach a kind of emotional peak with Fall In, a cut from 2012’s Attack on Memory that could have been an early 2000s teen rock anthem, before devolving two songs later into a roiling nihilistic mob as No Future/No Past built and built and built into its menacing, furious climax. The band closed the set with an extended, hypnotic version of Wasted Days, channeling the power of all the punk and emo warriors who came before them.

Some acts struggle to capture the lightning energy of their live shows on record. Others don’t have the chops to translate their studio-honed sounds to a live setting. Cloud Nothings are not ‘some acts’. As a live band, they clearly don’t lack energy, but the pummeling aggression of their performance never overwhelmed the carefully crafted hooks that make their recordings so compelling.

Pros: No pre-planned encore.

Cons: That guy doing backflips into the crowd.

5/5 Boots to the head.

Cloud Nothings are wrapping up their Australian tour:

Saturday 13, December – Meredith Music Festival

Sunday 14, December – The Zoo, Brisbane

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