Real Live Action

No Gold

w/ Cloudface

The Waldorf Hotel; June 9, 2012

Real Live Review by Sam Hawkins

As the skipping needle of DJ D. Dee lifted, and the shuffle of records faded to arrest, the Waldorf Cabaret dimmed and grew quiet. Although the end of his set had signaled the commencement of that Saturday night’s show, all of which could be heard now was the drag of a few people’s feet on flattened floor; The Cabaret was empty. The opening half of that night’s show, if we one would even consider it a protuberance of No Gold’s headlining performance, ended up feeling more like a musical amputation of that evening’s events: something that would be better left forgotten.

Opener Cloudface’s set was a lifeless series of knobs and dials. The hum of static set to the tic-tock of beeps and phasers shouldn’t suffocate an already darkened room, but rather act as a light at the end of a tunnel: an exciting mnemonic to keep moving. Cloudface’s set was unoriginal at best, and at worse, is a more telling reminder of the difficulty in making compelling electronic music. Too often do artists find themselves becoming trapped by overuse of too similar sounds and techniques, relying on borrowed talent and innovation, such as Cloudface did. It may be that the appeal behind the music is something so esoteric that it is out of my grasp, but as there was not one person dancing to his monotonous jam, no one listening seemed to give a damn.

But as soon as headliner No Gold took the stage, the Cabaret exploded into population. Here was a band that oozed persona and idiosyncrasy: the perfect combination for an unknowing listener. To say I haven’t heard anything like No Gold would be an exaggeration of the truth; within their pulsing wave of noise, rhythmic electronic drum beats, and harmonized triplet of vocal layering, are the evocative sounds of bands such as Crystal Castles and the Police. Starting off their East Coast tour in style, the forty-minute or so set, broken up into increments of four or five songs, trounced the hardwood floor and shook us all into a euphoric gyration, at times even displaying facets of world music—other-world music.

I only worry that No Gold’s performance will be hard for even them to replicate; besides it being nearly impossible for me to identify what songs were played, upon asking for a set list I was told that not even they knew the titles of the songs. And from the look on Liam Butler’s face it seemed as if the entire set had been as much a reverie for them as it had been for me. Perhaps this was an easy way of getting rid of a pesky individual like myself, but perhaps not. What is important is that it doesn’t really matter. All three members of No Gold are uniformly chaotic, and within that is true beauty.