by April Foster
A diverse crowd of music fans showed up to Neurolux on March 22 to catch sets from Toronto, Canada’s Memoryhouse and Cleveland, Ohio's Cloud Nothings.
Memoryhouse’s brand of dream pop lacked in lushness and intensity. Lead singer-keyboardist Denise Nouvion’s voice sounded dry and shaky (perhaps some more reverb might’ve helped?), and sections of music were played noticeably off-time. The set did have its highlights, however. “The Kids Were Wrong,” one of the better tracks off the band’s recent LP, The Slideshow Effect, was the climax of the show with a forceful snare drum attack that opened the song, followed by a vibrant, dreamy chorus, and a thick dollop of keyboard-filled atmospherics.
But during most of the set, the band seemed disinterested and unengaged. At one point, the guitarist said from the stage, “You need to stop clapping before the songs are over,” referencing premature applause during dull parts of songs. Thing is, the audience was probably ready for Memoryhouse to get off the stage and tired of listening to a poor man’s Beach House.
Cloud Nothings managed to revive the crowd's energy with a set of loud and heavy, tripped-out noise rock. The young, scraggly quartet started the night with a high-powered version of “Stay Useless,” one of the singles off its fantastic new record, Attack on Memory. Dylan Baldi’s voice was crisp and flawless, nearly exactly as it sounds on record. Live, the band is fuller and heavier, its records unable to contain the sheer energy it expels from the stage.
It wasn’t long before Cloud Nothings launched into the instrumental “Separation” and decimated the audience with a blitz of fast-chugging guitars, crashing cymbals and noise that was both cacophonous and ornate.
The highlight of the evening was the behemoth, 10-minute-long “Wasted Days.” The song swelled up from a standard Cloud Nothings-style verse/chorus into a monstrous Krautrock jam with a huge wall of guitars. The band improvised large sections of the song, poking and prodding at its large tapestry with bits of psychedelic noise and soaring guitar solos that put the listeners in a trance.
Cloud Nothings closed the set with the all-hope-is-lost track “No Future/No Past,” a lethargic, throaty grunge number that slowly builds into an all-out screaming guitar assault. After the big close, the adrenaline-fueled audience gradually schlepped back to their cars and bikes, ready to face their hangovers the next day.