We’re here in part for the same reason you are: to get a little out of our skin."
So said Craig Minowa, leader of Minneapolis based experimental indie (in the true sense of the word) rockers, Cloud Cult. Now 11 full-length albums into their career, the sound is as expansive and, in Minowa’s own words, schizophrenic, as ever. Yet a 90 minute set, as the seven piece band offered up in Seattle in support of their latest release, Love, remained an entirely cohesive and, dare I say it, life-affirming affair.
With Cloud Cult, you get a little of everything: crowd sing-alongs, achingly beautiful melodies, insanely catchy choruses, a splendid light show, and a live painter (or two, most nights, though not this one) on stage, wrangling the sounds and the energy of the room into a painting by evening’s end. If you don’t like the music – which is a rather difficult task – there’s certainly a good amount of intrigue in watching visual art come together in this setting.
What is most vivid about a Cloud Cult show, however, is a concept that goes back to that notion of freeing ourselves up for a bit, if not longer. Anyone with a familiarity of their recorded work knows that there’s a whole heap of human issues being dealt with lyrically in a very true, direct, and honest way. For those unfamiliar, it doesn’t take long to figure that by getting out of our skin, what Minowa really meant was getting into our skin; reveling and taking comfort in our shared experience of being truly human. It’s the skin we can all relate to because we’ve all been through pain and hurt, we’ve all touched – if this is at all a just world – love in some form, and proactively or not we’re all spiraling towards something greater. It’s a journey, being human, and this music – this live show – is sort of like a pit stop on that journey. It’s where we can all get out of the car to stretch our legs, look around at where we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going, and then get back in feeling re-energized having acquired a little perspective and a sense that we’re a part of something. We’re human and Cloud Cult is here to remind us of that.
I could go on and talk about how good the musicality of this show is. I could talk about the impressive multi-instrumentalism of pretty much everyone on stage or how the harmonies were perfect on songs like "Meet Me Where We’re Going" or how fitting it was to have people joining in on the "yups" in "Transistor Radio". I could write about how as much as I wanted to hear the recorded version of "Chemicals Collide", the slightly stripped down version allowed the crowd, appropriately, to step inside of it. All of that would be part and parcel for a live review but it just wouldn’t capture what it is to see Cloud Cult. It’s a certain kind of catharsis that’s well worth the price of admission, especially when with the added bonus of a darn fine rock show