It had been a while since I've been to a good old fashioned rock show; so seeing Cloud Nothings tearing up the Crocodile on Tuesday felt a certain kind refreshing. Although their sleeves are festooned with a whole collection of references, there's something refreshing about hearing so many vaguely familiar/half forgotten sounds rebooted by a generation for whom ambition isn't necessarily a slur.
As another newcomer to the band (yes, the best-new-music designation helped catapult it out of the endless Spotify soup and into heavy rotation), I took their decision to open their set with "Stay Useless," the most obvioulsy catchy track on Attack on Memory, as something like a boast that they immediately satisfied by turning a broken amp into an excuse for a seamless segue into a blistering instrumental extended finale for "Fall In" during which bandleader Dylan Baldi jumped in on drums while drummer Jayson Gercyz slipped backstage to borrow some gear from openers Mr. Dream.
Despite Baldi's occasional apologies for the equipment difficulties, the whole transition appeared to be coordinated by telepathy and the audience was in capable hands for the rest of the show. After playing everything else on the album, the show thundered to a close with howls of sleepy-eyed disaffection anthem "No Future/No Past" the crowd seemed unsure of whether to even think to ask for an encore. Eventually, though, senses were regained and enough cheers were mustered to bring the band out for just one more song (that I couldn't identify from its seemingly Hopelandic lyrics. update: a helpful commenter gi wins the prize for identifying the closer as "Hey Cool Kid" from 2010's Turning On).
Earlier, Mr. Dream's bassist and co-vocalist Matt Morello mused nostalgically about seeing shows at the Crocodile's old showroom. As much as I'll forever miss that cluttered room with its view-obstructing poles and pristine sound, I was happy to see that the fancified back bar remains a site of after-show weeknight hilarity. Last night included a bartender veejaying all the hits of the 90s, both bands lingering to redeem drink tickets, and various tribes of international travelers from the downtown hostels clumsily coming onto strangers, desperately seeking the next party, or sheepishly making requests for songs like "Kokomo" or "Since U Been Gone" from the back of the room.
A few more photos after the jump.
Openers Mr. Dream, who sounded like what Siri's rock god wants to be when he grows up: