KOKO – 21st March.

Cloud Nothings’ latest album, Life Without Sound, is all about coming to terms with the crippling uncertainty of the world we live in. In keeping with the rest of their enviable back catalogue, the songs are the kind that when brought to life on stage feel like an almost tangible dispersion of all the angst contained within them, sowing some seeds of positivity in the process. And what better place to make that kind of magic happen than KOKO in all its gilded, glittering grandeur?

Powering through a set which opens with that very record’s rather sombre intro, ‘Up To The Surface’, and closes with Attack On Memory noise-rock juggernaut ‘Wasted Days’, Dylan Baldi and co. are on fine form. Second up, ‘Modern Act’ brings about the first big crowd reaction of the night, sparking the first in a succession of determined – if small – mosh pits that ebb and flow for the rest of the set. Last autumn’s comeback single seems like it’s already a firm favourite with the Cloud Nothings faithful, even giving career standouts like ‘I’m Not Part of Me’ and ‘Stay Useless’ a run for their money on the night, as do ‘Things Are Right With You’ and ‘Internal World’.

Seldom do the band pause to engage with their devout following, bassist TJ Duke providing the bulk of any interaction, Baldi himself uttering a nonchalant “Thanks, we’re Cloud Nothings” as they leave the stage, and not a word more. Bluntly, they don’t exactly look delighted to be here, but they’re certainly not holding anything back when it comes to the tightness and quality of their performance. The record-to-live translation is quite outstanding for a band whose style would more than get away with a bit of scrappiness and alteration here and there, and the interluding jams are as much a part of the spectacle as the tracks themselves. As if it needed proving, they are masters of their craft.

Photos by Joao Machado.

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