The scene at the Magic Stick on Tuesday night was so dull it was almost grim. The male-dominated crowd was strewn about in clusters like they were chatting at a house party. Older concert goers waited patiently in the Garden Bowl, sipping cheap beer. When the lights dimmed, the people hardly seemed excited that the show was about to start.
Detroit's own Tyvek
took the stage, kicking things off with "Buildings Burning." It was immediately evident that the skill level of the guitarist and singer, Kevin Boyer, exceeded the rhythm section. The guitar work is raw, yet compelling and occasionally wanders from dense power chords to explore hyperactive rhythm and blues territory along with some angular lines. Despite the bass doing little to add to the songs, the tone complemented the guitar well and added punch. The drums sounded big, but flat. Imagine hitting the bottom of a rubber trash can with a fallen tree branch.
Just past the midpoint of the set, Boyer announced that it was the first show of their tour and that it didn't count, basically covering his bases if they had a shitty set. However, as the set progressed, the cobwebs shook off and Tyvek gained confidence. Vocally, Boyer resembles Keith Morris, just less angry.
It was incredible to see how docile the crowd was amid the ruckus onstage. There is nothing less rock and roll than an apathetic audience, which by the end of Tyvek's set had grown quite a bit. Boyer thanked the crowd and said, "We're from somewhere around here."
Tyvek was aggressive and lively. Their songs may seem immature on a superficial level, but there is something that compels the audience to follow along.
After a short break in the action, Cloud Nothings
took the stage. Singer and guitarist, Dylan Baldi, politely greeted the room before the band erupted, boiling over into the first song. Think of a jazz trio all soloing at once. The trio out of Cleveland is tight with well executed, spastic meanderings.
However, the energy of the music onstage failed to rouse the majority of the audience. Perhaps the dreary weather -and the fact that it was a Tuesday night- drained the life out of the crowd. Despite those two possibilities, the older members of the audience moved more than the kids. One drunk women danced so hard, she spilled both of her drinks.
Onstage, Cloud Nothings produced calamitous waves of destruction that were the right blend of precision and aggression. These guys out-punk most "punk" bands on the scene today, while retaining experimentation and melody.
At the mixer, the sound man was attentive, watching the band blaze through their set and making adjustments as needed. The sound at the Magic Stick can easily become unbearable if the board falls into the wrong hands. It was refreshing to be able to hear both bands loud and clear.
Cloud Nothings continued to hit hard, while serving up little doses of sweetness. Baldi is a very skilled guitarist who has developed a unique style of making his instrument sound as if it were doing the work of two guitars. Jayson Gerycz and TJ Duke form a solid foundation of rhythm that lead the songs into interesting directions. Simply put, Cloud Nothings fucking jam.
Throughout the set, the band was quiet in between songs, letting the music communicate for them. Cloud Nothings prove you can still make intelligent music and have fun onstage.