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Cincinnati MusicNOW Festival Kicks Off with Cloud Nothings

Dylan Baldi of Cloud Nothings at Cincinnati's Woodward Theater (complements of Facebook)

Cincinnati's 10th Annual MusicNOW Festival kicked off last night at Woodward Theater in Over the Rhine with Will Butler and Cloud Nothings. Will Butler (of Arcade Fire) performed songs from his just-released solo debut album, Policy. The younger Butler brother's live performance offered more energy and quirky personality than evident on the studio recordings, with many in the audience wearing Arcade Fire and Reflektor t-shirts to rally their support. A skilled musician, Will shifted from playing guitar to singing to playing keyboards right in the middle of songs. Although he may still be working out how to get the live sequencing of his new album just right, his show is a must-see for any Arcade Fire fan.

Next were Cloud Nothings, a drum-pounding avalanche of sound that came fully prepared to rattle the audience's eardrums. The Cleveland, OH 3-piece band released their fourth studio album, Here and Nowhere Else, last year and performed the majority of the album to their Cincinnati audience. They proved they are one of the loudest and most energetic recent bands around. Their sound is a blend of punk-inspired noise rock with the 2000s indie flavor of the Strokes. The buildup of their sound is incredible and shattering, a solid start to one of Cincy's coolest festivals.

This year the festival also celebrates it's 10-year anniversary after being founded in 2006 by Bryce Dessner of The National. The festival seeks to highlight contemporary artists who do not fit into well-defined genres and who take musical risks. A compilation of artist performances from all years of the festival is released this year and can be purchased or downloaded via the festival website. 

View the full festival schedule below and purchase tickets here.

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