by Matt Kelchner
On Thursday night Cloud Nothings brought their headlining tour to Union Transfer. It’s the first tour supporting their recently released album, Here and Nowhere Else. Thursday also marked the beginning of Ryley Walker’s opening stint on the tour. Both acts gave it their all and helped kickstart the weekend for those who came out.
Ryley Walker made it clear to the crowd his love for Philadelphia. The noisy, folksy singer from Chicago shared his warm feelings multiple times in between songs, as well as at the end of the set. While outspoken and hilarious in his banter, Walker belted out soulful and emotional songs. Joining Walker on stage were two additional band members, one on electric guitar and another on the electric piano.
As the crowd began to trickle in throughout the set, Walker and company won each person over. Look past the powerful voice of Walker and there were the other two members, mostly improvising and adding layer after layer of intensity and strength to each tune. Walker’s no-holds-barred lyrics could fit into any punk song. He separates himself by adding a soulful, midsummer’s twang and style. Songs like “The West Wind” from Walker’s All Kinds of You warmed the crowd up for the main attraction.
Cloud Nothings took to the stage with nothing flashy or showy. The drum kit was not even set up on a raiser. The mastermind that started everything, Dylan Baldi, has brought Cloud Nothings a long way since the first singles. Evolving from a lo-fi bedroom pop experiment, the band is now a noisy, energetic punk band that drives the shows at full throttle. Just a few days prior to the show, Baldi and Cloud Nothings released their newest full length album, and showed it off Thursday Night.
The night was filled with songs only from Here and Nowhere Else and Attack on Memory, the band’s previous release. They blazed through 13 songs in just about an hour- crowd favorites like “Stay Useless” and “Separation” from Attack on Memory and paired them up with newer songs like “Psychic Trauma” and “Pattern Walks”. Cloud Nothings started with “Quieter Today” and from the first chords to the very end of the night, the crowd was a constantly thrashing and moshing mass of sweaty bodies. About half way through the night, a select few ventured onto the stage to dive back off, an uncharted territory for their fanbase. Where as fans typically jump back into the crowd as if they were a wide open pool, fans Thursday night awkwardly and cautious flopped their way back.
Cloud Nothings’ set was short compared to most headlining acts, but if they were to play any longer the crowd would have to be carried out one by one. They ended the night on an extra long and intense version of “Wasted Days”, the eight and a half minute song from Attack on Memory. After the last notes rang out, Baldi thanked the crowd before walking off stage. No encore followed but after their 13 song sonic blitz, none was needed.