Perambulating the Bounds

Saturday, July 09, 2005

What Makes Dave Cloud Dave Cloud

I caught Dave Cloud for the first time in a few months last week when he opened for Comets on Fire at the End. The band sounded good, even tight, with 4 guitar players plus bass, drums, and Tony Crow on keyboards. Not that things were buttoned down – Dave did strip down to his boxers and do a couple of pushups, and the words are still what they are, strangely visionary, libidinous. My favorite was Helios, a long number, mostly spoken if I remember right, in which a guitar player like Link Wray descends from the sky and conquers the earth without mercy.

The band sounded like it had been rehearsing, working the songs out. On the obvious upside, tightening the music makes the band more accessible. If music sounds “messy,” many people can’t hear it. If DC and the Gospel of Power stay on this trajectory, it should be easier for more people to hear Dave. And it’s also important to remember that Dave Cloud loves rock music, and part of rock music is the rock star thing. Give the band a cleaner sound, and Dave gets to go further into that. Based on the band’s sound at the end, there’s a lot less reason why they should be relegated to underground venues and no-pay/low-pay gigs. I didn’t see what separated them from a band that would play shows across the street at the Exit/In.

Still, you expect a howl from Dave, a primeval expulsion of the sub-conscious, unfettered and unedited, and a rougher sound reinforces that primal growl character. The sound on Dave’s recordings or in shows at the Springwater is not just a matter of convenience, it also constitutes an aesthetic position with a discernible impact. When Dave Cloud sounds more like other rock bands, is that a good thing for rock music?


  • Springwater's sound? What sound? Do you mean that half-working one speaker PA that they call a sound system? Any regular gigger at the Springwater deserves better. A "matter of convenience" aside, it's nice to read that the GOP (that couldn't have been intentional) can find a truer sound in rooms that actually have a functional system. I saw a band from Chicago over at Springwater last year. Their name escapes me, but they had two young sax players weaving melodies not unlike one used to hear from all-star bands with Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, and the like. Though in spirit, they managed to rise above the limitations imposed on them by playing there. That is, until some hipster walked by and said "since when does Springwater have jam bands"? What an idiot. (These days, a band with soloists can have a 16-bar solo and get labeled as a jamband by some Bright Eyes wanna-be or a lazy music critic, but that's another rant). Sorry to make this a rant on the Springwater. It can actually be a cool place to have a cold beer and run into old acquaintances, but I can't help but feel sorry for anyone travelling through town looking to play a gig in Nashville and have to negotiate that.
    Thanks for the word, David. I'll be sure to check out Dave Cloud next time he plays (somewhere other than the Springwater). - Anonymous but tall

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 PM  

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