MUSE: A review of Cloud Cult at Brighton Music Hall

By Sydney Moyer, Staff Writer

Cloud Cult violinist Shannon Frid-Rubin at the concert at Brighton Music Hall/ PHOTO BY Sydney Moyer

Cloud Cult violinist Shannon Frid-Rubin at the concert at Brighton Music Hall/ PHOTO BY Sydney Moyer

Last Wednesday, when my friend told a friend of hers that we were going to see Cloud Cult at Brighton Music Hall, he responded, “One of the best REAL POSITIVE live shows u can see!” After seeing the Minneapolis-based experimental indie act, I can think of no description more fitting.

Cloud Cult has been compared to the likes of Radiohead and Modest Mouse, but neither is really sufficient to encapsulate the band’s sound or attitude. The Brighton Music Hall show featured an eight-person band, complete with strings, horns, and, most notably, two painters who begin the show with blank canvases and end up with gorgeous, musically driven works of art that are auctioned off at the end of the show.

While Cloud Cult is perhaps most renowned for their paintings, the band truly is one of the most real, positive acts out there. The band filled the venue with a pack of devoted fans who shouted along every word to singer Craig Minowa’s poignant lyrics, many of which were inspired by the unexpected death of he and his wife Connie Minowa’s two year old son in 2002. Many Cloud Cult songs revolve around existential notions of life and death, but lack the banality that usually accompanies such grandiose subject matter (e.g. “And even though I don’t know God / I’m happy with the mystery / And I’m certain that I feel it / Every time that you sing to me”).

This band is all about staying positive through the shit, and translating that element into a live show was certainly an incredible phenomenon to witness. Minowa’s energy proved infectious and palpable as he jumped around the stage barefoot, winding his way through old crowd favorites as well as equally strong new tracks off of the band’s latest album, Love.

At the end of the night, two paintings stood before me: on the left, Connie Minowa, one of the bands two painters, had painted an impressionistic rendition of two small figures standing alone in a brightly colored forest. On the right, Scott West had painted a woman with eyes closed, colorful bubbles of what I supposed were dreams rising out of her skull. While I can’t exactly articulate why, those visuals will come closer to capturing Cloud Cult’s live sound more than these words ever will. I can only end by saying that I go to so many shows that very few of them leave me affected— but this one will stay with me, and should you ever see them yourself, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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