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When Cloud Nothings played “Wasted Days” through a thunderstorm and without a PA

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we’re remembering songs from the great live performances we saw in 2012.

Most of the Pitchfork Music Festival’s second day this year was a rainy mess, a downpour that took occasional breaks to raise everyone’s hopes, only to drench them again a short time later. The skies opened for the first time during Cloud Nothings’ early-afternoon set, first as a light but steady rain, then a goddamn torrent that sent the festival staff scurrying for cover. Cloud Nothings stayed right were they were: on stage and playing ferociously. Festival staff supported them until the winds picked up and the rain came down even harder, at which point they cut the PA. No matter, Dylan Baldi and company kept just used their amps, and the crowd supplied the vocals: “I thought / I would / Be more / Than thisssss,” sang the crowd during the lacerating “Wasted Days,” as Cloud Nothings played with maximum defiance. Eventually the stage power was cut, and the show was over, though it wouldn’t have surprised me if the guys had kept going anyway. When a day starts as boldly as that, the rest of it has a seriously high bar to meet—and no one touched Cloud Nothings that day.