Goldenboy, Cloud Nothings turn Garfield Artworks into musical celebration

By Emma Kilcup

Many people know Garfield Artworks as an art gallery. Last Tuesday, however, Goldenboy and Cloud… Many people know Garfield Artworks as an art gallery. Last Tuesday, however, Goldenboy and Cloud Nothings proved the venue was also quite capable of musical revelry.As the small space of Garfield Artworks filled with fans of alternative band Cloud Nothings on Tuesday night, one of two opening acts, Goldenboy, performed with talent and charisma.

Garfield Artworks, which typically features art exhibitions, is not a normal college student haunt. Nevertheless, the venue, located in Bloomfield, attracted a good number of young adults for Tuesday night’s crowd.

Whereas Garfield Artworks’ website boasts several visiting musicians each week, the venue does not initially resemble a concert space, but rather an art gallery that has been commandeered for the night. Luckily, by the end of the concert, dancing fans and a lit stage ensured a lively atmosphere.

The concert commenced with local artist Dean Cercone, who used a steel drum, guitar and a reverb machine to create lo-fi pop. Although his voice was enjoyable to listen to, it was often lost behind too much noise. Sometimes the fuzzy effects fit the dreamy songs, but most of the time scratchy, gritty sounds made the noise too much to handle. Although undeniably creative, Cercone seemed to acknowledge the overpowering reverberation, stopping the noise abruptly and concluding with, “OK, that was a song.”

The awkward set-up of the space only compounded Cercone’s problems: A few couches were placed to view him, but many sat facing the graphic designs on the nearby white walls.

Goldenboy livened up the audience by performing on a stage at the other end of the area and coaxing people to gather around the music. Soon, Garfield Artworks was a concert venue.

Although Goldenboy — composed of Nicole Verhamme, Keith Brown, Katy Stone, Jon Crawford and Shon Sullivan — had previously visited the city, Tuesday night marked the group’s first performance together in Pittsburgh as a cohesive fivesome. The group has already performed at Austin music festival South By Southwest and heads back to the Southwest after its stops on the East Coast.

Sullivan, the vocalist and guitarist in the group, founded the band. A former member of indie singer-songwriter Elliott Smith’s band, Sullivan originally performed in Pittsburgh alongside Smith himself. Although Smith’s influence is undeniable in Sullivan’s work, however, he’s created a band with clear influences in other areas as well, including the laid-back music of Southern California.

Between enthralling the audience with witty comments and endearing jokes, the band played a solid set, including songs from its latest album Sleepwalker, which was released in February.

The final band, Cloud Nothings, ended the night with an anticipated performance as the small audience turned into a crowd. Everyone clustered around the band and danced to the music — an energetic spectacle for an equally energetic set.

The Cleveland-based trio formed when vocalist/guitarist Dylan Baldi began recording in his parent’s basement as a one-man band in 2009. His accompaniment has been changing for different gigs, and a bassist and drummer joined him for Tuesday night’s concert. With an album released in January 2011, the band is on tour to perform both old and new hits.

Although most audience members seemed to only recognize headliner Cloud Nothings, Goldenboy wowed the listeners who had stumbled upon the band and succeeded in prepping them for the energetic act. Its soothing yet dynamic pop complemented the more explosive Cloud Nothings.