The Red Stage at Pitchfork was packed as Cleveland natives, Cloud Nothings, made their way onto the stage. The crowd had been enthusiastically waiting, all equally happy that the rain from Friday had not carried over into Saturday. The four members took their places on the stage to cheers and raised hands.
A brief introduction led the set; one compound sentence that stated what everyone undoubtedly already knew, and then Cloud Nothings exploded into their first song, “Stay Useless”. It was instant; the pit at the front, even from the distance I was at, began jumping and thrashing.
The band powered from song to song, including “Fall In”, “Cut You”, and “Wasted Days”.
“Fall In” elevated to an amazing, near chaotic moment and mellowed out with a simple, lonely guitar riff leading into solid jamming for quite some time after. It was well-played and purposeful.
And then the rain started.
Cloud Nothings, for lack of a better term, kicked ass though and kept playing in absolute punk rock fashion. They began “Wasted Days”, and as the rain gradually picked up, they powered through as Pitchfork crew tarped up equipment. The audience was persistent and hung out even when the rain had effectively progressed into a downpour. Ponchos, umbrellas, and even a few well-planned umbrella hats popped up, as well as a few crowdsurfers.
Instead of being a damper on the show, the rain combined with the music to energize. Cloud Nothings’ set progressed into something amazing and chaotic as they jammed through the downpour and seemingly gave the weather the middle finger. Instruments cut out, and then the vocals disappeared, but that is where the dedicated fanbase filled the gaps, shouting “I thought I would be more than this” in the absence of Dylan Baldi’s vocals. It was a powerful moment in which I felt like we, the concert-goers, were being conducted in some sort of punk-rock orchestra. It was only when the guitar finally died did a lonely drum kit close out the set.
The Cloud Nothings’ set was cut short by about twenty minutes, but it was nothing short of raw and explosive. Not one person was spared from the sky opening like it did, and in the moment, I don’t really think that anyone really minded. They put on an amazing show and literally blew up the Red Stage.