Indie rock band Cloud Nothings wooed an intimate crowd of about 100 at the Teragram Ballroom during the L.A. stop of their “Last Building Burning” tour Friday night.
Despite the main act’s prowess, the two opening acts, Divinity Band and Shells, appeared disengaged with the audience. While their music was enjoyable, the performers’ lack of enthusiasm left the audience standing still.
Although the crowd was quite small as the show began, it grew immensely just before Cloud Nothings took the stage. Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Cloud Nothings is known for their genre-bending tendencies, experimenting with heavy rock, indie and pop from album to album. Their latest LP “Last Building Burning” features a stronger grasp of rock and roll influences with unrestrained guitar and drum solos.
The four-piece band opened their set with “On An Edge,” which immediately had the crowd bobbing along to the song’s hearty bass. Lead vocalist Dylan Baldi was energetic, bouncing in place and singing passionately. However, the remaining band members weakened the group’s stage presence as they remained stationary during their set, creating a disengaging environment onstage.
As Cloud Nothings transitioned into their second song and fan favorite “Leave Him Now,” the audience’s energy began to climb. As Baldi arrived at the catchy and powerful chorus, the crowd belted, “You’ve got to leave, leave, leave, leave him now,” while also forming a mosh pit.
When the band played the next two songs, “In Shame” and “Offer an End,” it became apparent that they were going to play their new album in its entirety. “In Shame” featured edgy, staccato notes. The audience’s energy waned with “Offer an End,” which transformed the mosh pit into a group of gentle swayers. Throughout the first couple of songs, Baldi’s voice was barely audible, with the instrumentals overpowering his vocals. The issue was never resolved, affecting Cloud Nothings’ performance for the rest of the night.
The next song “The Echo of the World” once again augmented the room’s energy levels, with Baldi immersing himself in the music and becoming visibly more comfortable with the crowd.
Both “So Right So Clean” and “Another Way of Life” were infused with energy, bringing back the mosh pit in full force. As “Another Way of Life” closed out the album, the crowd erupted into applause.
Cloud Nothings then transitioned into “Realize My Fate” and “Strange Year,” two tracks from their fourth album “Life Without Sound.” With a gradual buildup, the band displayed a cool confidence while venturing into the familiar territory of its last album. “Strange Year” reached a peak response among audience members, with the mosh pit growing as the song continued.
Cloud Nothings journeyed back further into their discography with tracks “Pattern Walks” and “Stay Useless.” While both featured high intensity instrumentals, the crowd became increasingly fatigued.
The band concluded the night with “I’m Not Part of Me,” an upbeat number. The crowd rose to the occasion of the last song, singing the lyrics back to the band, reviving the mosh pit and cheering in support.
While each song showcased powerful instrumentals and overwhelming potential for hardcore headbanging, both Cloud Nothings and the audience ultimately failed to consistently carry the immense amount of energy the music demanded.