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Cloud Cult’s “No One Said It Would Be Easy” sneak peak

22 Mar

“The Cloud Cult experience as a whole for me is just celebration of life and love and whatever the grand mystery is.”  -Craig Minowa

There are people who make you glad that they are alive, that they have made it through the darkness of their own lives in order to share the journey.  People like John Frusciante, David Carr, your aunt the breast cancer survivor, your friend who volunteers, people whose processing of pain enables and facilitates your own passage of hope.  So it is with Craig and Connie Minowa.  Craig is the lead singer and driving force behind Cloud Cult, part band, part ecological movement, part apostolic roadshow, part therapeutic breakdown.  The development of this unique musical experience (Connie is one of two live painters who are full time band members) is charted in the new movie No One Said It Would Be Easy, which was given a sneak peak at the Varsity Theater today and is now available for order.

I have written about Cloud Cult for CakeIn15 before, and their 2008 release,  Feel Good Ghosts (Tea Partying Through Tornadoes), made it on to our Best-Of lists – specifically for the breakout catharsis and unbridled joy that their music encompasses.  Not limited to concert footage, No One Said It Would Be Easy reaches into the origins of the band, tracking the anti-social obsessiveness of recording the first albums and the trials of forming the original band (with cellist Sarah Young and drummer Dan Greenwood), limited success with college radio and the first steps towards being an environmentally conscious band.  The  history is mostly documented through interviews with the Minowas, archival footage and spiffy interstitial animations created by Scott West, the second painter and main collaborator on the film with director John Paul Burgess.  The film is bravest with the honest, painstaking detailing of the trauma that has shaped the direction of the music, the loss of the Minowa’s 2-year-old son Kaidin.   The transformation from grief into spiritual acceptance can be linked to a point made earlier in the film about the First Law of Thermodynamics- that energy can never be destroyed, it simply changes forms.  In this way, the grief changes to joy, solitude to community, record studio to stage and empty venues to packed crowds.  Moving up to the success of Cloud Cult’s last two discs, The Meaning of 8 (2007) and the aforementioned Feel Good Ghosts, the movie doesn’t so much end as leave you on a high live footage shot at the Varsity in 2007.

It is moving, self-effacing, honest about the trials and joyful in it’s triumphs; all the best reasons to love music and the people making it.  It lays bare some of the reasons we keep on coming back to music for hope, and how this unique group has built a following through the honesty of their convictions.  The experience leaves the feeling  that you are a part of something (Cin15’s Staciaann is- she provided still photographs for the film and is thanked in the credits), some great mystery that is everlasting and ever changing and you will forever be a part of it.

Also:  Check out David De Young’s reaction videos from Rift Magazine‘s Rich Horton, Bill Mike of The Bill Mike Band and The Current’s Barb Abney over at the How Was The Show Blog.

Cloud Cult head out on tour (with Margot & The Nuclear So-and-So’s and Ice Palace, whose new disc Craig produced) later this month and stop at Coachella April 18 and return to Minneapolis for a May 2nd show at First Avenue. The Coachella date happens to fall on my birthday, so if anyone is feeling extra generous, that would be great. ‘Kay thanks.

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