February 9, 2018 Nothing More Captivate Sold Out Irving Plaza, NYC 2-6-18
In our current generation, fans seeking out the best new music often face the challenge of sifting through hundreds of bands/artists and finding less than desirable options. People not only want music they like, they need an act that they love – something that hits the sweet spot in their soul and leaves them wanting more. For many, the performer must be the total package – extraordinary songs, meaningful lyrics, and compelling live performances. If there is one up-and-coming band in existence who meet all three requirements, then by far, Nothing More exceed expectations.
On the rise, out of the Lone Star State of Texas, Nothing More – Jonny Hawkins (Vocals), Mark Vollelunga (Guitar), Daniel Oliver (Bass), and Ben Anderson (Drums) – have made a ton of noise since releasing their 2014 self-titled Eleven Seven label debut and have since taken a quantum leap forward as one of the hottest young acts in the game.
Fusing super-charged elements of Hard Rock and Alternative Rock, Nothing More’s sound is a well-executed mix of everything there is to love about music, leaving fans and critics infatuated with this band. In fact, Nothing More’s fifth and latest contribution – 2017’s The Stories We Tell Ourselves – was a massive, critically acclaimed hit, debuting at No. 15 on the Billboard U.S. Top 200 and reaching No. 2 on the Billboard U.S. Top Hard Rock Albums chart. As the lightning strikes, Nothing More, deserving, also received 3 Grammy Award nominations, as The Stories We Tell Ourselves was up for Best Hard Rock Album, while the albums top single, “Go To War,” was nominated for Best Rock Performance as well as Best Rock Song – making 2017 the biggest year in Nothing More’s history.
A new year, 2018 plans to be substantial in terms of touring for the guys in Nothing More, as their level of fanfare has never been higher and the band is gaining new listeners every day, adding to their circle of fanatics. One of the biggest cities for Nothing More’s emotion filled, dynamic, and high-powered performances could only be New York City, and on the night of Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the Union Square section of Manhattan was alive with electricity as Irving Plaza played host to a sold-out show for Nothing More’s The Stories We Tell Ourselves Tour.
First on the bill, a band called Kirra out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kirra – Jesse Williamson (vocals), Daxton Page (guitar), Ryne McNeill (bass), and Zach Stafford (drums) – brought their brand of Hard Rock to a growing New York City audience as the first of three openers. Previously the band has toured with national acts such as Tantric and Saving Abel. Kirra’s full-length album Run Away was released in 2016 and the band notes some of their biggest influences to be Chevelle, Tool, and Seether.
Next up, Big Story, a band out of Dallas, Texas, took the stage consisting of Jovan Santos, Randall Stephens, David Perez, and Ross Rubio. In the summer of 2017, Big Story shared the big stage as they toured in support of Seether. Excited to be sharing this stage with Nothing More, Big Story played an emotional blend of Alternative/Progressive Rock and much of the crowd enjoyed their set.
Providing direct support, Indianapolis, Indiana’s own, The Contortionist – Michael Lessard (vocals), Robby Baca (guitar), Cameron Maynard (guitar), Jordan Eberhardt (bass), Eric Guenther (keyboard), and Johnny Concannon (touring drummer) – were welcomed to the stage with cheers. The Contortionist’s dark and mellow sound enthralled the crowd with songs like “Godspeed,” “Reimagined,” “Absolve,” “Return to Earth,” and the title-track to their 2017 album, “Clairvoyant.”
Having previously toured with the likes of The Deftones, The Contortionist are well seasoned in their Progressive Rock format that really reached many in attendance on this night. Entertaining and engaging all the way through, those who perhaps were not fans of the band at the start of the show, no doubt were one of the converted by the end. Closing out their set with “Language I: Intuition” and “Language II: Conspire,” The Contortionist nicely warmed up the crowd for the main event.
As the climax of the night was looming, the room was mobbed from front to back, and one could really sense this sold out crowd was stirred-up and primed for a mind-blowing show. Once the place went dark, the crowd was beside themselves with hysteria as Nothing More took the stage to a huge ovation, then exploding into “Christ Copyright” – igniting the fire inside everyone in the place. Alive with energy, amidst a ton of smoke and blinding lights, Nothing More kept the crowd jumping with “Let’em Burn,” singing with “Mr. MTV,” and grooving with numbers like “Don’t Stop,” and “First Punch.” Then, Hawkins and company were only just getting started, as Oliver went off on a funky bass solo that saw Hawkins – a former drummer himself – playing percussion on the neck of the bass before returning to the setlist for an unhinged performance of “Ripping Me Apart.”
As the second half of an already stimulating show commenced, an impassioned Nothing More began what was the most moving and insane portion of the night with, arguably the bands best song, “Go to War.” Introducing “Just Say When,” Hawkins described it as the end of an 8 year relationship, as he was joined on stage by Vollelunga, and with simply an acoustic guitar, the pair grasped the heart-strings of everyone around them, playing a tear-jerking rendition of their most engaging song as couples danced closely all over the room.
A highly quoted song, and rightfully so, “Do You Really Want It?” offered a sing-along that took over Irving Plaza thanks to one irresistible line -“Everybody Wants to Change the World, But One Thing’s Clear, No One Ever Wants to Change Themselves“- an eye-opening statement. Beer cans in hand, “Here’s To The Heartache” had friends charmingly toasting each other before Hawkins explained that the next song, “Fadein/Fadeout,” meant a great deal to Nothing More, especially to Dan and his son. A song about not taking things for granted, Hawkins questioned the crowd – “Does Anyone Have A Jenny?”- before going into a candid version of the powerful number, “Jenny.”
Then, the outspoken “This Is The Time (Ballast)” was followed up by the Skrillex cover “First Of The Year (Equinox),” finding this moment as the most visual point of the show with Hawkins playing drums, and sound effects, atop his monster known as The Scorpion Tale – a huge, moving contraption made of scrap metal and drums – for many it begged the question, ‘What the hell is that?’ Approaching the end, Hawkins declared that Nothing More does not do encores because they are fake, and instead, “We will just give you everything we have in our bones.” With that, Nothing More left everything they had on the stage, dramatically closing the show with “Salem (Burn the Witch).”
In enough words, Nothing More displayed nothing short of greatness over the hour and a half the band graced the intimate New York City stage. Not once did this band let up or slow down during their commanding performance. As a frontman, Hawkins was superb in both performance and in his stunning delivery of each and every lyric, as Vollelunga, Oliver, and Anderson supplied the daunting soundtrack to the band’s profoundly consuming songs. That said, for the audience, by the time their heads tirelessly hit the pillow that night they knew one thing, a Nothing More show is not a show – it is an experience.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves Tour will be on the road through July, and that even includes a run supporting Papa Roach in the Spring. A must see, if you have not taken the opportunity to catch Nothing More, the shows are selling out fast, so what are you waiting for?Photo credit: Donny Joseph
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