Cloud Nothings @ Ding Dong, Melbourne (5/2/2013)

Cloud Nothings were made to play this room. Sure, their set at Laneway Festival a few days earlier delivered all the raw power a windy outdoor stage allowed. But the band looked as though they’d been ripped from the dark, scuzzy and angst-loaded corner of indie-rock they dwell in, and shoved uncomfortably into daylight. This is a band built for darkness, for small spaces and for soul-crushing levels of volume. Where else but Melbourne’s Ding Dong Lounge?

Violent Soho are creatures of the same breed. Not content with warming the stage, they pummelled the tiny band room with distortion until sweat started to bead on the ceiling. Fuelled by recent single ‘Tinderbox,’ their all too brief appearance left an overflowing roomful of bodies wallowing in spilled drinks.

Cloud Nothings wandered on stage amid the aftermath, looking dazed. Frontman Dylan Baldi hid somewhere behind a scraggy mess of hair and glasses, dragging the rest of the band into an effects-drenched whirlwind of noise. From the first wave of fuzz, the set was a rollercoaster ride. When the four-piece locked into a groove – all sourced from 2012’s Attack on Memory – there was absolutely no derailing them. ‘Fall In’ kicked things off with a clean-cut rip through bopping territory. Baldi hunched over his mic, a stoned slacker-rock pose masking his frantic strumming and raspy yelp. Surprisingly the crowd seemed to tap into the hazy noise of it all more than the energy underneath, and for the first half of the set there wasn’t a lot of movement off stage. This was fine when the set spiralled off into layers of noise, the ending of ‘Separation’ coming pretty close to complete chaos and demanding undivided attention. But goddamn, most of the crowd failed to capitalise on being all up in the band’s face. This is the type of dirty garage rock made to thrash about to.

Drummer Jayson Gerycz was particularly excellent to watch, setting an unrelenting pace and bashing out the set as loudly as possible. The energy from on stage slowly leaked out into the audience, and by the time ‘Wasted Days’ kicked in, everybody was ready to party. The track’s running time of nine minutes gave the band a chance to flex their jamming muscles, and the effect was hypnotic. The downside to the set’s hurtling pace revealed itself just a few songs later, with ‘No Future/No Past’ providing an anthemic and painfully sudden end to the night. The sweaty mess of an audience howled for more, but to no avail. I guess we’ll be staying hungry until next time.