Let it be clear from the start: this writer has long been a Cloud Cult fan, for the adventurousness of their music, for their commitment to a strong environmental ethos, and for the sheer, beautiful power with which they pull off the combination of the two.
Cloud Cult albums are impressive, ranging from ballads of almost child-like curiosity to fast-driving guitar-based rock tunes, all tinged with hints of electronica. For the uninitiated, though, a Cloud Cult show is a thing of beauty: the music takes on a surprisingly aggressive, almost frenetic energy, complemented by both video show and live painters, the entire package an engaging event. Their recent gig at Seattle’s Neumo’s was no different, with the six-piece group providing an appreciative crowd with music from their most recent album, The Meaning of 8, as well as from its predecessor, Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus.
If one were to complain of the show, the complaints would have to center around lighting and sound. Specifically, during the first three to four songs, the vocals were having a hard time competing with (or more accurately, were being drowned by) the rhythm section, as well, occasionally, as the guitar. Following those first songs, however, the sound balance was fixed, allowing harmony-laden vocals to perfectly complement the myriad instrumental solos and underlying motifs that make Cloud Cult such an intriguing band.
Similarly, lighting for the show was, at times, lackluster, leaving band members cloaked partially in darkness, save for hips, stomachs, and legs; one can’t imagine that having been purposeful, and as such, it was a thing of small disappointment.
Really, though, when one’s main complaints about a show are as minor as early mixing and some lighting flaws, well – suffice to say a Cloud Cult show is highly recommended as a not-to-be-missed event.