SAN FRANCISCO — Cloud Nothings elaborately dark Noise Pop set at The Independent kicked off the festival’s full week Monday. Dylan Baldi, not one to speak his mind, instead let the music do it for him.
The Cleveland band paused just twice to address the crowd the entire night. They warmed up with post-hardcore “Sight Unseen” and “Modern Act,” off their latest album, Life Without Sound. The band’s performance has sharpened over its eight-year career.
Songs off Cloud Nothing’s 2014 album, Here and Nowhere Else, showcased the band’s skill nicely. “Psychic Trauma” flipped the tempo into double time in a blink of an eye. The frenetic pace peaked at this point, along with “I’m Not Part Of Me,” which immediately followed.
Guitarist, Christ Brown, who joined the band last year, struggled to find his place on this night. His movement was limited and his eyes continually followed bassist TJ Duke, as if he was trying to keep up. Duke, however, fed off the intensity of drummer Jayson Gerycz. The two pushed each other throughout the night to play faster and with more power.
Baldi, meanwhile, was in his own world. Once a song finished, he would continue to strum his guitar and gaze at the floor until the rhythm section kicked into the next tune. After a few more songs the band showed their lighter side with some jokes; a rare address to the crowd. Baldi gave himself a birthday shout-out.
Cloud Nothings slowed down the tempo but kept the intensity with “Realize My Fate.” Baldi’s raspy, deteriorating vocals enhanced the severity of song’s subject. Gerycz finished the song with an impressive drum solo and violently threw a drumstick. A one-song, 15 minute encore of “Wasted Days” with Dave McPeters from opening band Itasca, concluded the night.
Oakland band Kid Trails started the night but did not show much for it with a few simple songs. The band had to awkwardly start the second song over because the band members weren’t able to start together. Their performance was extremely simplistic, with only an occasional synthesizer solo standing out. Never Young, on the other hand, was confident and collected. Drummer Samuelito Cruz nearly knocked over his small kick drum ever time he hammed on it. The chaotic scene was almost enhanced when bassist Nikolas Escudero suddenly lost power during the band’s heaviest breakdown. He quickly recovered to finish the song.
The most misplaced opener had to have been Itasca, who have opened for Cloud Nothings for the past week. Consisting of an acoustic guitar, three-piece drum set, pedal steel and bass, this band seemed mismatch for the bill. Kayla Cohen, whose vocals approximate singer Dido, was plagued by sound problems for most of the night.
Follow writer Joey Reams at Twitter.com/Joeyreams94.