Review - Nothing More live at Dingwalls, Camden, December 2017

Until two weeks ago I’ve never heard of a band called Nothing More and to quote a recent article by TeamRock, “Who the f*ck are…Nothing More?” Fast-forward two weeks to last night, I knew exactly who they are and I’ve been listening to their fourth and the latest studio album, ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’ on repeat. The world has taken note of this American prog-rock band from Texas and Nothing More recently received 3 Grammy nominations for “Best Rock Album” for their mentioned latest release, “Best Rock Performance” for their song, ‘Go To War’ and “Best Rock Song”, also for ‘Go To War’.

Entering the dimly lit venue last night, local band, In Search of the Sun were finishing off and the atmosphere was already electric as fans eagerly waited for the main act to come on stage. The first and earlier opening band was Psycho Village. During a break, the small stage was set up with an impressive display on the handmade swinging iron mounts for the bass and drums. The set-up took most of the stage and I was curious to see how this Grammy-nominated “Best Rock Performance” is going to make this work!

The venue filled up with smoke, lights dimmed and finally, the main act came on stage. Drummer, Ben Anderson took a seat behind the drum kit first followed by Mark Vollelunga (guitarist) and Daniel Oliver, bassist and also the artist of all the interesting iron structures on stage. Shirtless frontman and Jim Morrison lookalike, Jonny Hawkins, entered and started powerfully banging on two drums as they started with ‘Christ Copyright’ The crowd started clapping to the beat with hands in the air and instantly started headbanging. This followed with ‘Let ‘em Burn’ and as the opening notes to ‘Mr MTV’ were played, the crowd erupted into a sing-along mosh of excited fans. At this point, I was seriously questioning the choice to put a band with such a presence in such a tiny venue.

The setlist was made up of 12 songs and a bass solo. The set included a few slower-paced songs like ‘Just Say When’ from their new album. For most bands having ballads as part of their set can be a challenge to keep the energy going, but they managed to keep the same energy-level and seamlessly moved from the moodier ballads to killing it with the harder songs. Fan favourites were clearly ‘I’ll be OK’, ‘Jenny’, ‘Here’s to the Heartache’ and ‘Let ‘em Burn’. They finished their set, minus encore, with the fast and heavy ‘Salem (Burn the Witch)’ where all four members were playing drums at the same time.

Highlights of the night were the iron scorpion tail bass creation, the kick-ass bass solo by Daniel Oliver, combined with three members of the band playing the bass-contraption-thing at the same time. Another was the mind-blowing vocal range of Jonny Hawkins and how he flawlessly manages to change between falsetto to growling screaming that reminded me of early Thirty Seconds to Mars and At the Drive-In. However, the most impressive is how Hawkins managed to still jump around to the extent he did with all the equipment taking up 90% of the stage!

I expected this to be a good one, but this completely exceeded expectations. I would have loved to throw in a cheesy-line like “the crowd left thoroughly satisfied, Nothing More, nothing less”, but that would be inaccurate. Go see this band live before they are too big to care. They will be back supporting Papa Roach on their Spring 2018 USA tour. As much as this was an experience to remember, I cannot wait to see them again in a bigger venue with an actual photo pit and better lighting!

Set List:

Christ Copyright
Let ’em Burn
Don’t Stop
Bass Solo
Ripping Me Apart
Go to War
Just Say When
Do You Really Want It?
I’ll Be OK
Here’s to the Heartache
This Is The Time (Ballast)
First of the Year (Equinox) (Skrillex cover)
Salem (Burn the Witch)

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All Images ©Marianne Brits-Strodl
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