Cloud Nothings / The Courtneys / S.H.I.T. Opera House, Toronto ON, November 27
Published Nov 28, 2018Cloud Nothings are way past buzz band status, and they've instead settled into the steady, workmanlike part of their career. They put out an excellent album every year or two, tour it extensively, then repeat the whole process.
Having plugged away for nearly a decade, Cloud Nothings have built up plenty of support, which explains how they packed the Opera House on a Tuesday. The early birds were still filtering in when local punk combo S.H.I.T. took the stage before 8 p.m., and the band's turbo-charged hardcore felt a little lifeless with so few people there to listen.
Next up, Vancouver trio the Courtneys were by far the night's most pop-friendly band, as their breezy fuzz-rock jams were laced with honeyed melodies. Drawing on the ramshackle twee of Kiwi indie rock, they tore through a series of extended guitar jams and even tossed in a couple of hook-filled new tunes (with promises that their third album is in the works).
Within moments of Cloud Nothings taking the stage, a teeming mosh pit had already opened up in the middle of the floor, as the band immediately tore into the climactic punk crescendos of "On an Edge." The Cleveland four-piece barely spoke a word as they played their raucous new album Last Building Burning from front to back, with frontman Dylan Baldi abusing his larynx and screeching every syllable from behind an Ottawa Senators ballcap and a shaggy mass of shoulder-length hair.
The songs were soaked in screams and distortion, but they still had dynamics: the peppy "Leave Him Now" was the catchiest of the bunch, "Offer an End" was flecked with chiming guitar harmonics, and the mid-tempo "So Right So Clean" slowed things down with heavy-lidded haze. Drummer Jayson Gerycz was the band's MVP — his surging punk grooves, towering fills and free-noise solos were the driving force behind the pulse-racing climax of the epic-length "Dissolution," which was the highlight of the night.
After finishing Last Building Burning, Cloud Nothings played a selection of tunes from their last few albums, injecting frenzied energy into a sped-up version of "Pattern Walks" and harkening back to their pop-punk days on "Stay Useless." The biggest cheer from the moshing fans was reserved for "I'm Not a Part of Me," which closed out the main part of the set.
The band returned for a one-song encore, ending the night with their angsty anthem "Wasted Days." As the final shrieks of feedback quieted down, Baldi flashed the crowd a peace sign, while bassist TJ Duke briefly remained onstage to offer a heartfelt thank you, saying, "We'll see you next time."
Knowing Cloud Nothings, we won't have too long to wait until that "next time," and the group will likely have another new album in tow. There won't be any surprises, and that won't matter much. See you in the pit.