Cloud Nothings / Pleasure Leftists - Live in Allston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Cloud Nothings / Pleasure Leftists

Live in Allston (2014)

live show

Fellow Clevelanders Pleasure Leftists opened up this Tuesday night gig at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, MA, a convenient few blocks where I recently moved. I made an effort to get there on time for them after checking out the opener online beforehand and being pleasantly, doubly surprised that they'd not only released material on reputable labels like Deranged and Katorga Works, but played really cool, relatively straightforward post-punk with Siouxsie-ish vocals. That's also basically what they served up during their no-frills, no-bullshit 24-minute set. They said practically nothing to the crowd (a preferable mode, honestly), simply jamming out one aggressive, punky post-punk cut after another. They were buoyed by just a pinch of dark atmosphere and a somewhat quirky frontwoman who seemed to be wearing a Yellow Power Ranger jumpsuit as embroidered by a Midwestern quinquagenarian at an arts and crafts fair. She was definitely the most energetic of her bandmates, swaying, pumping from one side of her body to the other, nearly jogging in place, like the fitness videos of the same era the band's main influences probably derive from. Definitely an enjoyable set, with the best song saved for last -- a slightly slower, more dynamic and accessible number.

DJ Carbo was listed on the bill as a performer, but didn't actually have a se t-- he just soundtracked the night, often with some choice cuts (forgetters' "In America," Dinosaur Jr.'s "Feel the Pain," and Nirvana's "Drain You" stuck out).

Cloud Nothings came on about 25 minutes later and were similarly gimmick-free for a solid, almost totally unrelenting set. So unrelenting, in fact, that it's probably why they unfortunately didn't play the awesome, snarling "No Future / No Past" -- it might have just disrupted the impressive momentum they built over 59 minutes. The trio said very little to the crowd, with a thoroughly seamless run-through of 14 songs or so (with a short break before the final, epic cut, "Wasted Days"). Their new album, Here and Nowhere Else (which they played the entirety of) certainly warrants such a thrust, since it's a surprisingly aggressive, punk-leaning followup to 2012's poppier and arguably more playful Attack on Memory. The vocals were a little low in the mix and the bass a little throbbingly high at first, but I think someone figured out the right levels about halfway through the set.

There was no encore, and very few breaks - -the first real one came only because drummer Jayson Gerycz's kick pedal system seemed to fall apart right in the middle of "Stay Useless" (the band quickly replaced the setup and started from the top). The crowd mood shifted hard, though, taking a turn from polite jumping around and singing along to all-out college-dude push-pitting as soon as "Separation" started jamming, because what else is there to do, right? Still, it was a great, energetic hour (all the better with a little distance from the personal space invaders).

Set list (9:08-10:07):

Quieter Today
Now Hear In
Stay Useless [stopped after drum incident, restarted]
Psychic Trauma
Giving Into Seeing
Fall In
Separation [?]
Pattern Walks
Should Have [?]
No Thoughts
Just See Fear
Our Plans
I'm Not Part of Me
Wasted Days