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Since joining the I OH YOU label, Violent Soho have experienced somewhat of a renaissance in recent times, experiencing high rotation on triple j throughout the year. It was a rejuvenated and re-energised Violent Soho that blasted into their set, which seemed destined to test the thickness of the early crowd’s ear drums from the outset. With opener Scrape It backed up with Son of Sam, they left no stone unturned when it came to volume and unabated brashness. Luke Boerman towered somewhat awkwardly over the mic stand, as a glorious concoction of fuzz and garage rock reigned out into the audience, some perhaps not expecting to be front and centre of an onslaught so early in the piece. Radio favourites such as Neighbour Neighbour and Jesus Stole My Girlfriend gave some of the more unfamiliar audience the “ahh, that band” moment, while Tinderbox closes out a set that gained more and more momentum as it went along.
Those lucky enough to score a hotly sought-after ticket to this limited-capacity show had been frothing at the mouth with anticipation of one of the most talked-about bands on the Laneway Festival line-up, and by the time Cloud Nothings took the stage, the sold-out crowd was well and truly bubbling over. Led by singer-songwriter Dylan Baldi, the Cleveland four-piece launched straight into Fall In, off their acclaimed 2012 album Attack on Memory, and without hesitation, the crowd quickly formed a mosh and passionately sang along with Baldi’s sometimes screeching vocals. Perfection isn’t built into Baldi’s repertoire, and rightly so. The more he strays from being in key, and the looser his timing, the more a new layer of the songs appear to unmask themselves to the listener. Not satisfied with churning out song after song verbatim off the studio versions, the band launched themselves into seemingly intergalactic jams that are a feast on the ears and eyes, with drummer Jayson Gerycz especially worth a mention, given the rapid-fire drumming these jams incorporate. At one point you’re standing there wondering where his other 6 arms have come from, amid the blurred haze of movement behind his modest-sized kit.
Key album cuts such as Stay Useless and Wasted Days continued to leave the crowd in a frenzied state, while those taking more of a reserved approach would no doubt draw comparisons to where …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead left us with their much loved album Source Tags and Codes, while their sense of pop and melody continued to shine brightly. Baldi’s slack-jaw approach helped to keep such melodic moments on the rough and raw rails, as the rest of the band continued to do what they do best.
Closing out with the brooding crescendo that is the epic No Future/No Past, Cloud Nothings were relentless until the very end. Despite being a change of pace from the rollercoaster that had just pulled into the station, its painful cries were born to eke out every last drop of moisture from Baldi’s throat, and its place at the end of the set made all the more sense.
Considering the next time Cloud Nothings make their way to our shores they will no doubt be
playing in venues with 5 times the capacity, being present at such an intimate and packed-out show will no doubt leave a memory long after the ears cease to ring. Despite being barely a month in, its position as contender for gig of the year is well and truly deserved. The lucky few getting to witness it will no doubt agree.