Cloud Cult, the seven-piece experimental indie band from Minneapolis, played for a sold out crowd at the Independent in support of their new album, Love.
A shoeless Craig Minowa took the stage with the rest of his band members, all respectively assuming their instruments, including a painter, Scott West, taking to his easel. A projection screen filled with ambient and swirling colors of blue and green systematically followed the sound as the band burst into the song “Chain Reaction” from their 2007 album, The Meaning of 8. Minowa sang with conviction, “You have eyes like mine. Are we strangers, or am I you are I?” with the crowd following suit. As the music climaxed the easel spun and lights flickered.
“Hello, San Francisco,” Minowa proclaimed with a big smile. “I don’t know what it is about you guys, but you always seem to welcome us with a big, warm hug.” The feeling was mutual as Cloud Cult plunged into a diverse set of old and new material. From their new album, noteworthy songs were the grassroots influenced, “Meet Me Where You Are,” the Pandora favorite, “1x1x1,” the gleeful track “Good Friend” and the energetic “Complicated Creation.”
Highlights of the night were interactions with the crowd, through Minowa’s inspiring lyrics and the bands emotive tunes, but also through their generosity and humble banter. Before the song “Chemicals Collide,” Minowa confessed, “We’re going to do something we’ve never done before.” He welcomed two young girls to the stage. One sheepishly announced her love for the other woman, accrediting Cloud Cult for her courage. She dropped to one knee and proposed to her partner, the crowd roared with passion.
Other favorites were the song “Transistor Radio,” which Minowa dedicated and narrated a story about his recently deceased 95 year old grandmother who visited San Francisco for the first time from the Midwest and went to a gay pride parade. The song “When Water Comes to Life” from their 2008 album Feel Good Ghosts demonstrated their musicianship with members playing and rotating the Cello, Violin, Glockenspiel, keyboards, French horn and Trombone. Perhaps their most powerful song, “Forces of the Unseen” from their 2010 album Light Chasers, had band members all ritually beating drum toms to television static projecting on the screen behind them, flaring with every thunderous hit. They sang in unison, feverishly and madly with authority, “We have so much energy that you can’t see. We’ll blow right through it.”
Cloud Cult stood on the stage and gracefully bowed before a stunned audience. An easel that started out with slabs of paint evolved into a portrait of a woman. With over 10 albums and countless tours they have blossomed into a powerful and inspiring musical force.