In case you missed it, Cloud (or Tyler Taormina) is back with a brand new LP called Plays With Fire. It's a partial return to the more dejected and understated mode that graced his debut Comfort Songs, but also finds Taormina branching out into more adventurous avenues. It's also a return to the Audio Antihero label which released that fine debut back in 2013. It's safe to say that Cloud is a firm favourite of this particular website, so who better to kick off this brand new feature? We asked Tyler to pick out some of his most memorable shows, both as a punter and a performer, and write about them for us. We weren't aware of Tyler's slight apprehension for the live music scene, but I think that probably makes his selections all the more interesting.
Tyler Taormina: "Let me first preface by saying I have a strange relationship with live music. This sounds super boring of me to say, and I guess it is, but I don’t really enjoy standing for hours on end at a show. Well, some shows you need to be standing to fully enjoy, like when I caught the caP’n Jazz reunion in 2010 or glassJaw, Jawbreaker, or whatever. But most bands I see I would prefer to sit down in the dark and just take in the sound without distraction! My favorite types of shows are in living rooms or basements. Basements for the energy, living rooms for the cozy sense of community. Without further ado, readers of Crackle Feedback, here’s a bit of my gigography."
AS A FAN
I was ten years old when I saw three of my favorite bands on one bill; Mest & The Movielife opening up for Good Charlotte on their first ever headlining tour. I remember the line wrapped around the late venue called The Vanderbilt on Long Island. Everyone in line stood with spike studs and mohawks, many different colors of hair and tattoos, my fifth grade self was taken aback. Not only by the look of the crowd, but their demeanor seemed oddly kind. Good Charlotte rocked my world with their debut album and I was Benji that year for halloween, which really meant that I spray painted half of my hair…
Most memorable gig
Let’s fast forward a good thirteen years to what I will perhaps always refer to as my favorite show of all time. To set the context a bit, I had just fallen in love for the first time in years and she had a different perspective entirely— she never heard of Vampire Weekend... somehow. But she was sensitive to art in the way that she could discern the genuine works from the not so much. We drove out two hours along with the rest of the crowd into the desert. We ended up in Joshua Tree at a memorable venue called Pappy & Harriet’s where I was to experience the new Panda Bear material of 2013 for the first time. It was the Grim Reaper tour where he first played the set and I had held off from listening to any bootleg recordings. The stars were out above us and between the smoke machines and sand kicked up by the crowd, we were lost in a daze. He opened with Sequential Circuits and jams like Boys Latin and Tropic of Cancer made an indelible impression in my mind. I remember looking over at someone crying beside me and in another moment dancing with my lady. Panda Bear is my hero.
This one is easy. Not to be a total butt but I don’t really like festivals. Hear me out. There’s an element of dilution I think when you have to choose between sets that are just a walk away from one another. You are there seeing the act but you also hold in you the fact that you could be missing something else. Maybe this is just for FOMO’s like myself, I’m not sure. I also have a slight aversion to drug use that makes it a weird atmosphere for me. BUT, there was one festival that felt more like a convention and it was magical! It was ATP in 2009, curated by The Flaming Lips held in Monticello, NY. First off, 2009 was a great year for music and probably the last year of so much great music in a long time. Just look at this line up…… Iron & wine, Sufjan Stevens, The Flaming Lips, Crystal Castles, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Atlas Sound, Deerhunter, Black Dice, Shellac, Dirty Three, The Feelies, Akron/Family, Grouper, Menomena, The Drones, Black Moth Super Rainbow, No Age, Melvins, Deerhoof, Circulatory System and Oneida. Good lord, that lineup is unbelievable. And the festival was held very tastefully in a hotel where between two ballrooms in one weekend did the most memorable lineup of my show-going life occur.
In Northport, Long Island there was a house of a man named Chaudhry which was home to the best shows on the island. I had the pleasure of playing there a few times in its basement and it was always the boiled down GREATEST parts of show-going. Friendship, camaraderie, community and DIY punk. My greatest memories of playing and attending shows was to be surrounded by such a large group of genuinely good people living in the reactionary wasteland that is LI. But we found each other at Chaudhry’s house shows which always took place in the summertime. I am sore with saudade thinking of it.
AS A MUSICIAN
I had the chance to open for Atlas Sound with my old band Adam & Naive. It was a sold out show a few weeks before the “My Sharona” incident and build up can be traced to this show. It was the day of our last record release premiere which decidedly marked the end of our band and the end of an era. Bradford complimented my Chapterhouse t-shirt which is partially why I wore it. To take it back even further, I learned of our opportunity to play this show on the same night I found out about the death of a loved one and I walked around Boston and ended up writing the song “Stomach Pit.” Anyway, we played a good show, and Bradford had a micro-meltdown recalling for forty minutes on stage his youth and speaking of our band with admiration and envy to his yesteryears. Super weird. Super memorable.
Most nerve-racking show
It was in the wake of Zen Summer back when I had a bad habit of reading reviews of my work, which I can happily say no longer is an impulse of mine. But anyway, back then, I did. I read a review for the album that was highly critical. The reviewer had an observation that speaks only to my most self conscious vulnerable self— that the music sounds too much like Animal Collective. Part of the reason why most artists feel reluctant to speak of their influences is to avoid these observations at all costs. I was super bummed, and I had to play a show that night. It’s very rare for me to play shows so every one is already a bit nerve wracking but especially then in all ridiculous expectations for how the album would fare did I feel unusually neurotic. It was a small venue in Los Angeles called Lot 1. The turnout was pretty good. I had my set all worked out, David Portner is directly in front of me, front row, as I set up my gear. I’m breaking into sweats thinking of all the songs I couldn’t play because of the Animal Collective lifts employed. I said fuck it. I played the set. It was easily my best performance to date. A weight had been lifted. David, who later became somewhat of a friend said, “Cool set, man."
2012 with Adam & Naive. We played with The Forms. We drove out from Long Island all the way to Boston. When we played, The Forms a band of two were in the audience along with Jon and Kyrie. When They played, Adam & Naive was in the audience along with Jon & Kyrie. By virtue of lineup, their crowd was bigger than ours. The third band, Birthday Suicide was a no call no show. We made jokes that it was their birthday.
Plays With Fire is available now from Bandcamp and you can get the vinyl delivered for the frankly ridiculous price of about £12 thanks to those kind folk at Audio Antihero.