My game plan for the Cloud Cult show was to sit in the back row by myself and cry. Something about the chemical makeup of my body, when mixed with their music, results in this total wash of feeling like I'm actually melting. It's involuntary. It's very Tourettes. It's like a bloodletting, but with snot. It's not happy crying, and it's not sad crying. It's overwhelmed crying, pleasure crying, like a cello/violin/trombone/guitar/live painters/all those voices jangled the right combination of organs to activate every sense at the same time. It's like being able to touch smell.
I don't know how they do this to me. But the song "Trapeze Swinger" by Iron & Wine has a similar effect on me. "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay (Shut up. I don't pick the song, the song picks me.) gets close.
Whereas I believe that all bands should be Swedish pop duos, I also believe that if that is not possible -- say you aren't Swedish -- all bands should have a strong string section. I think the cello is my favorite instrument. Other things I love about Cloud Cult:
* They put on a show. Six musicians, two live painters who occasionally ditch the brushes to join these epic vocal moments. So many voices at the same time;
* They are these wholly good people. Recycled CD cases, planting trees to cancel out the carbon footprint of touring. Reminders that we are the keepers of Lake Superior and that it is our job to keep it clean.
* Their back story is one of huge tragedy, which is still at the core of their music, although now there is an added layer of celebration. Sometimes they lean to the group hug side of inspirational, but in an appealing way. If they were a church, I'd bake brownies and join the choir.
Anyway, usually the face gushing doesn't start until they play "Love You All"; Last night it started midway through their first song "Unexplainable Stories" -- a slowish, string heavy song that explodes in the center. That's when the two live painters spun their canvases and just started chucking colors and my chin and nose had a seizure and my eyes felt like they were filled with smoke.
So I finally lassoed the tremble. It returned a few times through the rest of the show. Specifically during the encore when they played "Exploding People," and all eight people on stage started beating on drums or drum-like things. In one case it was a bucket. Sticks flying all over the place during the apex of the song.
In an awesome manipulation of fate, Chuck was able to go with me to Saturday night's show at St. Scholastica. I'd gotten two tickets on the off chance that he would wake up early enough to be able to be in public at 7:30 p.m. That made it the first time I've gone to a Cloud Cult show with another person, so I was able to grab his leg and squeeze it in delight throughout the whole show. Even better than sitting by myself in the back row, crying alone. I think this was my favorite Cloud Cult show of all time.
In other news, this Minneapolis duo For Wilson Riot opened the show. They are a guitar, levers and gadgets, and voice, and by the end of their 45-minute set I was totally enamored with them. At first it was iffy. But they looked like they were having fun. Dude playing guitar, girl's hair whipping in her face as she played keyboard and twisted and poked at buttons.
"I don't know about their music," Chuck said. "But I think we should do that when we get home."