Cloud Nothings getting more comfortable being themselves

The indie rock trio have toured all over the world, and Thursday night, they bring their manic energy to Syracuse's Lost Horizon.

Cloud Nothings, the full-band outgrowth of Dylan Baldi's teenage songwriting efforts, have been labeled "fuzzy power pop", "freewheeling sludge rock" and even an "answer to Foo Fighters' 'Everlong.'"

But to the 23-year-old Cleveland native, Cloud Nothings are just a rock band. That's what he tells the border patrol agents when crossing into Canada for shows, at least.

"I don't know what else I would call it," Baldi said. "It's just, like, songs. I don't know. We're a really loud folk band."

Guitarist and singer Baldi, bassist TJ Duke and drummer Jayson Gerycz have toured throughout North America and parts of Europe. Tonight, they bring their spirited rock sound — or whatever you want to call it — to the Lost Horizon. Detroit punk band Tyvek and Popular Music, a Perfect Pussy side project, are scheduled to open the show beginning at 7:30.

Baldi conceived Cloud Nothings in Cleveland in 2009 as an outlet for his lo-fi songwriting. Since then, the project has expanded, with Baldi adding Duke and Gerycz to the live shows as well as the songwriting process. All three members have spent most of 2014 on the road in support of their latest album, Here and Nowhere Else, which Carpark Records released in April.

The biggest difference between touring now and playing gigs two years ago when the band first reached critical attention, Baldi said, is his recognition of the audience's expectations.

"I feel more responsible at the shows than I did then," he said. "When that was happening, it was just like, ‘I guess we’ll play, and I don’t know what’s going on here,’ but now I feel more like we have to be very good."

Baldi doesn't take that responsibility lightly. He spent his 23rd birthday this past August playing a show in Paris, but afterward, he stayed away from French grandeur, simply grabbing a few drinks and heading to bed. How responsible.

"Once you turn 21, there’s nothing cool left to look forward to at all about getting old," Baldi joked. "Might as well just have a normal night and go to bed."

In print, Baldi might sound bitter. On record, he sounds downright furious. But over the phone, he's calm, affable and even joyfully enthusiastic. His happiness, driven by a realized dream of writing songs and performing them in packed music halls and panoramic festivals, is palpable.

Given his band's scrappy sound, they'd be expected more in a club or a basement show, and Baldi said he still prefers a smaller crowd. Still, there's a downright surreal element to the festival scene, he said, and while it tripped him up in the band's early days, he appreciates it now.

"I used to think [festivals were] the weirdest thing, but then, I had a day where I was like, ‘Oh wait, not everyone gets to do this,'" Baldi said. "Now I kind of like festivals for the spectacle of the whole thing."

Tonight's show at the 400-person Syracuse music hall is far from a festival. But, as Baldi said, it should still capture the essence of the band as a trio playing off of each other in unexpected, animated ways.

"It’s actually more fun to do it in that way rather than me playing everything and masterminding things because that gets boring and kind of lonely and weird," he said. "It’s nice to have this thing that you created with two other people."

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.