Live Review

Cloud Cult, Lincoln Hall, Chicago

Positive creativity and a forward thinking eco-agenda.

It is thoroughly frustrating to be critical of a band like Cloud Cult. Everything the Minneapolis-based art-rock, chamber-emo collective produces is overloaded with positive creativity and a forward thinking eco-agenda. The band started an environmentally friendly non-profit record label to bypass offers from major labels, they record in a geothermal-powered studio, and even plant trees to offset their tour-related carbon footprint. Cloud Cult has managed to create a truly self-sufficient environment within the music industry that allows their unique music and message to remain as pure as imaginably possible.

However, this charming and much sought after sense of sustainability also seems to have led Cloud Cult to musically peak in many ways. Not to say that the band is uninteresting or without substantial musical potency, but they do seem to coast almost too comfortably along on a constant cathartic indie-orchestral rhythm. And while this is great for an initial live performance buzz, a true high is never quite obtained. This was the case at Lincoln Hall, Chicago.

As Cloud Cult triumphantly took the stage with grandiose ‘The Meaning of Eight’ standout ‘Hope’ and frontman Craig Minowa welcomed all singing, “In a little while, find it out, find it out,” the venue was consumed with positive vibes and spinning dance circles. The band then pushed harder into ‘No One Said It Would Be Easy’ and visual artists Connie Minowa and Scott West staccato-style splashed and dabbed their canvas turquoise, green and magenta and an impression was made that each song throughout the night would further elevate the evening to new artistic heights.

Unfortunately, the dizzyingly impressive display of mixed media artistry and an early outing of Cloud Cult go-to tracks caused an all-too-quick plateau of momentum. As the set drew toward the halfway mark and beyond the more angst-filled cathartic tracks, like ‘Advice From The Happy Hippopotamus’’ ‘Million Things’, failed to impress; even to the extent of recalling the likes of early Dashboard Confessional material - which is something most would like to leave lost next to their high school year books.

This digressive moment was however quickly redeemed by a genuinely sweet turn in the evening as the band finished the love song ‘Pretty Voice’ and an excited fan named Scott took the stage to propose to his girlfriend. It was a scene that perfectly fit the mood of the song and powerfully displayed the strong connection that Cloud Cult has with their fans.

In a sort of back and forth of highs and lows the touching fan-made moment was tragically followed up by the overdone talkbox ‘Kumbaya’ sway of ‘Love You All’ which simply did not fit. The band carried out a few more from 2008’s ‘Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)’ including ‘Tornado Lessons’ and ‘The Story of the Grandson of Jesus’ before closing strong with a tease of their upcoming August release ‘Light Chasers’.

Cloud Cult puts on a laudable show that will initially excite show goers with the orchestral feel of an emo-infused Arcade Fire, but ultimately settles into a state of pleasant predictability. It is like the idea of receiving the same gift every year for your birthday in a different festive wrapping. While the package is somewhat different and performance of opening it is unquestionably enjoyable you regrettably always know what you are going to receive.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

April 2024

With Bob Vylan, St Vincent, girl in red, Lizzy McAlpine and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY