* The big news coming in to last night’s Cloud Nothings, Protomartyr, and Two-Hand Fools show at the Beachland Ballroom was impending move to Paris of Cloud Nothings founder Dylan Baldi. In an interview with John Benson at Cleveland.com, Baldi also confirmed the band are recording this fall and will likely release a new album in early 2014.
* Baldi’s relocation isn’t the only factor impacting the future of the popular Cleveland band these days. Guitarist Joe Boyer is no longer with the band. His legal troubles preclude him from being in a touring band.
* As a three-piece, the band do less gratuitous jamming, which is a plus for a band whose strength is the three-minute pop-punk song, and the ace work of drummer Jason Gerycz is more audible, also a plus. Gerycz is easily one of the two best drummers in Cleveland (Steve Mehlman, being the other), and depending on the night (and which bands I’ve seen of late), he may be the best. He plays with power and precision and does more with a basic, five-piece kit than Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famers do with kits twice that size.
* Before Cloud Nothings took the stage, I visited the merch table and personally thanked Detroit’s Protomartyr for making it to Cleveland. That’s not something I do often, and if I do go out of my way to thank a band, it’s because I thoroughly enjoyed their act. I’m sincere like that.
* On stage, Protomartyr look like a band whose pieces can’t possibly fit together. The style of lead singer, Joe Casey, can best be described as used car salesman chic. Think browns, tans and greys and loose fitting sport coats. The guitarist and the drummer sported short hair and button downs, while the bassist favored more of a classic shredder look with long hair and black tee. Once they get going, however, you’ll be challenged to find a tighter band.
* The Hold Steady may be an easy comparison because of Casey’s vocal drawl, except to complete the picture, you’ll have to imagine Craig Finn being raised on Gang of Four and The Fall instead of Springsteen.
* Two-Hand Fools were the first band of the night, and while undeniably talented (the bass player in particular is mental), I’m not sure I’ve fully prepared myself for the return of emo. All this time I had industrial pegged as the next retro trend. I’d even begun the tedious task of reprogramming my brain to accept Front 242, Ministry and KMFDM as viable influences in modern music. Now, these new emo dudes did an end run on me and I’m at a loss.