Gallery: Cloud Nothings at Point Ephémère
Point Ephémère is one of my favorite venues this time around in Paris. Snug against the canal banks, it’s an eclectic, energetic point of the city that hosts a concert venue, bar, and artist residencies covered in all sorts of street art. In true French style, the venue is decked out within with a lighting system that even mid-sized venues would love to have back at home. Friday night, one Midwest band ended their 30 date European jaunt with a blistering performance that, to my surprise, showed that the French can mosh. But that’ll come later. Piano Chat opened up the night with a daunting task for one man to get the crowd warmed up. From Tours, Piano Chat recently wrapped up a stint opening for Yann Tiersen in America where people were drawn to his performances, he mentioned. You could see why, as he has the energy of Chicago’s Netherfriends with the indie layerings that remind me mostly of Yellow Ostrich. Each song is a build, which always risks becoming too common, but he successfully varied it up by bashing away with looped percussion over vocals and excellent, catchy guitar work. Although there’s a lot of one man loopers out there, last night convinced me that Piano Chat’s worth following.
Second up was Fordamage, a mélange of post-hardcore, metal, punk drum infusions, and one hell of a girl on guitar in Amélie Grosselin. The French hardcore band seemed to waver among all those styles, which got confusing at times when they were going into These Arms Are Snakes territory before switching directions, but you couldn’t deny the energy on stage. All four members had enough chops to cover lead vocals if they would, a rarity, and a bit of a jazz-like cohesion when going off into solos. It’s rare to find a band around these parts that can follow-up talk with action, and Fordamage definitely gave a near bloody, brutally impressive set.
“We are Cloud Nothings. There is no encore.” That’s how it ended-and one wasn’t needed, nor would anyone probably dare to protest. The Cleveland, Ohio band ended their European tour, an excursion that brought Attack on Memory from country to country. Now, Cloud Nothings may turn off people at first sight. They are anti-punk or rock stars, whatever you may call it, since on stage, they’re there, they perform, that’s that. It’s a bit off-putting, as there’s very little engagement. None is needed, as became evident during the exasperated, bombastic “Separation” followed up “Fall In” and opener “Stay Useless.” People were just possessed by the band’s energy, something that brings people back to their teenage years so easily, while Dylan Baldi carelessly continued, wrapped in a hoodie and commanding the crowd like a Sith lord (yes, Star Wars reference was only befitting).
Cloud Nothings confirmed once again they are one of the best live bands out there right now, and it’s effortlessly transferred solely through the music. There’s no cajoling, there’s no calls for hands in the air, no clapping-it’s just the music that made a mosh pit form so quickly and sustain itself throughout the night. It’s spontaneous, and addictive. “Wasted Days,” the nearly nine minute epic of Homeric proportions, was once again etched into memory as one of the best concert moments you can experience these days. Drawn out into perhaps ten minutes or twelve or more, it’s hard to be consciously certain as the entire band delves halfway through into a complete deconstruction of the song on stage. Distortion, feedback, the song was destroyed to mere steel threads, hanging precariously for minutes to hypnotic effect until somehow it reconstitutes itself into a bashing brawl. The comparisons are correct and confirmed, Cloud Nothings is likely the closest thing you can get to experiencing nirvana musically-in both senses-and Paris was swept into it along Canal St. Martin.
Cloud Nothings Setlist:
No Future/No Past