Review: Cloud Cult at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN. April 28, 2013

Cloud Cult at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN. April 28, 2013Cloud Cult - JSP 2013 (22)

Review and photos by Joe Stadele.  Published on May 3, 2013 by JB.

  • April 28, 2013
  • First Avenue
  • Minneapolis, MN


LOVE Record Release Show | Night 2

“I wanna be the guy who lives in the moment, not so lost in my mind. So I guess my show starts now…”

Trial and tribulation stories are a common place in music.  Some musicians’ struggle lasts 5 minutes, while others struggle for 5 albums, or sadly never arrive.  The story of Cloud Cult is one of perseverance and triumph.  The lives of songwriter, Craig Minowa and his wife, Connie, have been chronicled in each album down to soundbytes of their son, Kaidin, who passed in 2002 at the age of two.  Songwriting became a coping mechanism which ultimately served Minowa as he pursued clarity, peace and a connection with his son.  However, hope prevails for those who seek it and with the release of 2010’s Light Chasers and 2013’s LOVE, Cloud Cult’s music has transformed into a celebration of life (both here and beyond) and a reminder of the precious connections we share in every moment.  [Check out the Cloud Cult movie, “No One Said It Would Be Easy”:]

With the release of LOVE (proudly recorded near my hometown region of SW Wisconsin), Cloud Cult have laid all of their cards on the table with their most cohesive statement to date and an theatrically charged stage show to boot.

Cloud Cult celebrated the release of LOVE with two sold out shows in their hometown of Minneapolis.  The band was showered in humility and joy as smiles graced the band mates as Cloud Cult - JSP 2013 (23)they took stage April 28th at First Avenue.  With an ethereal tone of Shannon Frid-Rubin’s violin, textures of Shawn Neary’s glockenspiel and paint brush strokes of Connie Minowa and Scott West, Cloud Cult found their starting point with the quietly brewing instrumental “All The Things We Couldn’t See.”  Minowa remained low to the floor as he interjected sound bytes and snippets before taking to his guitar and leading the band through “Chain Reaction” and “Running With The Wolves” on vocals.

The atmosphere was one of celebration and connectedness; both reoccurring themes in Minowa’s words and songs.  He expressed, “Our energy is a bit high tonight and your energy is obviously a bit higher tonight” before leading the band in the harmonically beautiful sing-along “Meet Me Where Your Going” (a song written for tour manager/sound tech Jeff Johnson’s wedding) and the haunting “Sleepwalker.” Minowa took a moment to acknowledge the loss of Johnson’s grandmother, who sadly passed away earlier in the day, and dedicated (“an oldie”) “Transistor Radio” in her memory.  Minowa’s sincerity was felt throughout the night asCloud Cult - JSP 2013 (16) he expressed his appreciation for fan support, local Minnesota Public Radio branch 89.3 The Current, his band members and the love of his life, Connie.

There is a lot happening from song-to-song and the members of Cloud Cult perfectly complement one another with multi-instrumental and backing vocal duties.  Shawn Neary’s bass-lines perfectly dance around Minowa guitar, while he switches between trombone and glockenspiel.  Cellist Daniel Zamzow intertwines perfectly with Frid-Rubin’s violin as Sarah Elhardt-Perbix adds graceful modern/classical keys (and French horn) on top and through each song.  Drummer Arlen Peiffer may be hiding behind the kit but his sound is front and center as his pulsating beats shook the walls of First Avenue.

Rounding out the live show are artists Connie Minowa and Scott West.  Stationed to each sideCloud Cult - JSP 2013 (26) of Peiffer during the live performance, the painters draw inspiration from the night as they channel the energy through their brushes and transform blank canvases into spontaneous pieces of art.  Taking moments away from their work-in-progress, Connie and Scott also contributed vocals and percussion to tracks throughout the night.  Connie, introduced by Craig earlier in the night as “the love of my life”, joined her husband on vocals for “Good Friend.” West joined the Cloud Cult collective for the huge tribal transcendence of “Blessings (Invocation Pt. 2)” and vocals for show closers “The Show Starts Now” and “You’ll Be Bright (Invocation Pt. 1).”

Cloud Cult’s experimental sound and stage show is a voice all their own, yet shares in the community of kindred musical spirits Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros (down to the full band bow at the end of the show).  Selling out show-after-show, Cloud Cult is on a well deserved rise and this night, in their hometown of Minneapolis, was a celebration of everything…namely, this exact moment.



  • All The Things We Couldn’t See
  • Chain Reaction Running With The Wolves
  • Meet Me Where You’re Going
  • Sleepwalker
  • Transistor Radio
  • When Water Comes To Life
  • Man Jumped Out The Window
  • 1x1x1
  • Chemicals Collide
  • Complicated Creation
  • Love & The First Law Of Thermodynamics
  • Good Friend
  • You’re The Only Thing In Your Way
  • Blessings (Invocation Pt. 2)
  • The Calling
  • There’s So Much Energy In Us
  • Today We Give Ourselves To The Fire
  • We Made Up Your Mind For You (acapella intro)
  • The Show Starts Now
  • You’ll Be Bright (Invocation Pt. 1)


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