Cloud Nothings / Mr. Dream

Media Club, Vancouver BC March 7

> > Mar 08 2012

Cloud Nothings / Mr. Dream - Media Club, Vancouver BC March 7
By Alan RantaBrooklyn power trio Mr. Dream clearly have a sense of humour about themselves. A couple tracks in, lead guitarist/vocalist Adam Moerder said, "Thank you. We're System of a Down." Mr. Dream played loud and loose, with a tinny guitar sound and sharp bass, performed with a reckless abandon that took them over the top. Their face-melting swagger built the band up to something like a less math-obsessed Bastro or a less anthemic Pixies, ultimately making for a good time.

The hairless chests and undeveloped talent of Cleveland's Cloud Nothings betrayed their youthfulness. The band began as the bedroom project of then-18-year-old Dylan Baldi, channelling his teenage angst into three-chord lo-fi pop punk songs. Three years and three records later, Baldi is one of four young men refusing to come to terms with their fading teenage angst. Career-wise, Baldi has progressed, but emotionally and lyrically, he doesn't want to, as he professed his desires to remain a shallow ineffectual on their usual set opener "Stay Useless."

Baldi's age was also clearly evident when you heard him sing. In more tuneful moments, he moans and whines shallowly, with no real sense of urgency or developed emotion. When he exerts himself, his voice garbles and, more embarrassingly, squeaks.

There is a hint of Kurt Cobain in Baldi's voice when he attempts to emote, but unlike the Nirvana frontman, there's little substance in Baldi's words. Where Cobain roughly fell in with the slacker movement of the early '90s, which was more about anti-materialism and a rejection of conservative family values than pure sloth, Baldi's lyrics tend to be about doing nothing with his life for no reason ("Wasted Days") while remaining ignorant ("No Sentiment"), which apparently resonates with a post-internet generation lazy enough to just tweet "Who the fuck is Arcade Fire?" instead of actually looking something up.

Luckily, Cloud Nothings played a lot of extended instrumental passages. Though the song structures are unsurprising and the typical alt-rock jangle sound monotonous, they showed decent chemistry when out from under Baldi's suffocating lyrical immaturity. But contrasted by the more mature confidence of Mr. Dream, all of whom graduated college some years ago, the lack of Cloud Nothings life experience was brought into clear relief. These kids need to take a year off, go to India, and get their hearts broken.
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If the show wasn't good, it wasn't good -- I'm not going to be the guy who hates a negative review just because I like the band â€" but this review is painfully off when it comes to dismissing Baldi's music in general, rather than just his performance.

"Cobain roughly fell in with the slacker movement of the early '90s"/Baldi's lyrics tend to be about doing nothing with his life for no reason ("Wasted Days") while remaining ignorant ("No Sentiment"), which apparently resonates with a post-internet generation lazy enough to just tweet "Who the fuck is Arcade Fire?" instead of actually looking something up."

First, if it were true that Baldi were "lazy" and "doing nothing," wouldn't he still be an appropriate voice for the generation? And your hating on the generation younger than you isn't incisive â€" it just makes you sound like a "rock Dad" upset that Nirvana isn't as good as The Who and that kids no longer know "what music is about." It's closed-minded and out of touch.

This is moot, though, because isn't it likely that Baldi is actually aware of his generation and making commentary on it? It sounds like he worked hard and poured a lot of passion into Attack on Memory, and his lyrics about being slothful juxtapose nicely with the raw instrumentation and emotiveness. You've got to read between the lines, dude.

Lastly, "No Sentiment" is not about remaining ignorant, it's about breaking with the past and nostalgia. Sounds like you could go for a bit of that yourself.
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I was out of there after three songs. Probably the worst show I've ever been to... no joke. So loud as well for no reason. Probably the old guy doing sound was one step from being deaf. Fuck that show for wasting my life.
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This makes me sad to hear. I am still going to stay excited about their show in Toronto.
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If you like the band, be excited to see the show. They were phenomenal if you are a fan of the band, which this reviewer clearly was not.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and I personally love their new record and REALLY enjoyed the show. The glossing over of the instrumental ability of the band members(quite high and very raw/passionate) in favor of criticizing the lyrics--which aren't really all that important in a live setting anyway--seems weak and missing the point.
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Definitely stay excited, Lucamo. I'm sure if you enjoyed the album, their live show won't disappoint you. Clearly, I didn't enjoy the album, and their decent instrumental ability failed to convert me. As a fan, I'm sure you'll find the main difference between the album and the live experience is merely that Baldi's voice cracks more, so unless that really bugs you, no worries.

Plus, as I said, Mr. Dream is a lot of fun, so be sure to catch them. I found them significantly more impressive live than on record. Thanks for reading, taking the time to write, and supporting live music.
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Alan, my guess is that you have a complex about your age, because the centrepiece of your argument against Cloud Nothings seems to be that they aren't old enough. Ironically, that's really immature of you.

I was at the show and it was amazing. They blew the opening acts out of the water, displayed remarkable musicianship and reminded me why it's worth going to see live music.

Hey everyone, go see this band now... What are you doing? Don't read this bit, or Alan's stupid reply, go buy tickets to Cloud Nothings.
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You may have had a point about immaturity until you called his reply stupid.
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The point is still valid. It's just that you've exposed me as a hypocrite... you poo-face.
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