Nothing More Tackles Social Issues with “Mr. MTV” Music Video

In an age where most music videos seem to have become simplified, with just the band playing the song in front of a backdrop (with scantily clad woman somehow incorporated), the new video NOTHING MORE released yesterday for “Mr. MTV” comes as a welcome change of pace.

Sure, the video is partly of the four guys from San Antonio, Texas playing against a white background (creating a very sterile feeling environment, stifling to any and all creativity). And yeah, a few of the woman that appear in it have the stereotypical model look as they dance around in revealing outfits; though it’s the message the song carries, along with the rest of the footage, that makes this music video so powerful.

For those unfamiliar with “Mr. MTV”, the new single from Nothing More’s SELF-TITLED record tackles the issue of consumerism, and even what an obsessive culture we have become. From buying what we’re told to buy (i.e the latest and greatest gadget that you never knew you needed until now), to being given a mold of what beauty should look like, and if you don’t fit that, than there must be something wrong with you, right?

The video plays out partly like a propaganda film, with “subliminal messages” being worked in left and right, flashing by so quick it’s next to impossible to even see them. “This is a woman,” flickers across the screen when first showing the models, digging at the fact that people are told that is how all woman should appear, before quickly escalating with sentences like, “You are empty,” or “You’re inadequate.” “Debt is god,” it continues, further hammering home the fact that we’re made to think the only way to be happy is by constantly buying material possessions; while the word “conform” later appears.

The propaganda feel is also seen in the scenes with people strapped in chairs — eyes taped open — being indoctrinated to all these ways, before breaking free and revolting against their captors.

All in all, the video is riveting — even chilling — all the way through the end, which frankly, is a bit creepy. So, if you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting? Check it out above!

It is extremely thought provoking, and how many music videos do that these days? I find it even makes “Mr. MTV” a more powerful song, because the band has fully fleshed out the story they’re conveying in the lyrics, painting a vivid picture of what they’re singing about.

“Empty me, empty nation, emptied us of inspiration. Bastard sons and broken daughters; we all bow down to our corporate fathers.”

Nothing More will be crisscrossing the country through October. Their full tour schedule can be found HERE.

The Best of 2013: A List of Bands & Albums You Need to Know

Since I only do this once a year, here’s a refresher as to how this goes; After keeping track of every album I bought that was released in 2013 (120+) and every concert I saw, this is where I - completely objectively - select what I think were the best of everything.

LP’s and EP’s are divided into two different categories, with a top ten in each one, after which I do the “Best of the Rest”, alphabetically listing all the other records (the primary reason I do this blog in the first place is to try to help get bands even the slightest bit of extra exposure, so I don’t want to leave anyone out simply because they didn’t make my “Top Ten”.)

After that, I’ll list my ten favorite concerts from the year, then end with a wrap up.

For the albums, if you click on the artist name, you’ll be taken to their website. Clicking the album title will take you to either iTUNES or Bandcamp to purchase the record. Something new I’m also doing this year is including a link to a Spotify playlist next to each category, so you can easily listen to most of the music (not ever band has their music on Spotify, after all.) As for my favorite concerts of the year, they’ll be linked back to the individual review I did of the show, in case you missed it the first time around or may want to read it again.

Sound good? Good. Here we go…

Top 10 LP’s of 2013 (Spotify Playlist)

1.) Artist: Kentucky Knife Fight

Album: Hush Hush

Must Listen Song: “Bad Blood”


2.) Artist: Jillette Johnson

Album: Water in a Whale

Must Listen Song: “Pauvre Coeur”


3.) Artist: Nothing More

Album: Nothing More

Must Listen Song: Every track. Seriously.


4.) Artist: Tommy & the High Pilots

Album: Only Human

Must Listen Song: “Devil to Pay” & “Young and Hungry”


5.) Artist: Dead Flowers

Album: For You

Must Listen Song: “No Tragedy”


6.) Artist: Ishi

Album: Digital Wounds

Must Listen Song: “Emotional Hard Drive”


7.) Artist: Distant Lights

Album: Not Thinking Not Dreaming (FREE DOWNLOAD!)

Must Listen Song: “What’s On Your Mind?”


8.) Artist: Sick Puppies

Album: Connect

Must Listen Song: “Walking Away”


9.) Artist: These Machines are Winning

Album: Defender 1

Must Listen Song: “Beat S”


10.) Artist: The O’s

Album: Thunderdog

Must Listen Song: “Outlaw”
The Best of the Rest (LP’s) (
Spotify Playlist)

Artist: Air Review

Album: Low Wishes

Must Listen Song: “Low Wishes”


Artist: Animal Spirit

Album: Animal Spirit

Must Listen Song: “House On A Hill”


Artist: Anthony Green

Album: Young Legs

Must Listen Song: “Breaker”


Artist: Anydoll

Album: Electric Heart (Free download!)

Must Listen Song: “You Are Amazing”


Artist: Ashley Falgout

Album: Long Over Due

Must Listen Song: “Days and Days”


Artist: The Band of Heathens

Album: Sunday Morning Record

Must Listen Song: “Shotgun”


Artist: Bawcomville

Album: Tranny

Must Listen Song: “Diminished Returns”


Artist: Black Books

Album: Black Books

Must Listen Song: “Something to Remember”


Artist: Blameshift

Album: Secrets

Must Listen Song: “Revolution”


Artist: Blue October

Album: Sway

Must Listen Song: “Put It In”


Artist: Bordeen

Album: Bordeen

Must Listen Song: “Spotlight”


Artist: Bosnian Rainbows

Album: Bosnian Rainbows

Must Listen Song: “The Eye Fell In Love”


Artist: Bowling for Soup

Album: Lunch. Drunk. Love.

Must Listen Song: “Critically Disdained”


Artist: The Breakfast Machine

Album: Electric 2033

Must Listen Song: “Si, Explosions”


Artist: The Bronx

Album: The Bronx (IV)

Must Listen Song: “Last Revelation”


Artist: Christopher Owens

Album: Lysandre

Must Listen Song: “Here We Go”


Artist: The Civil Wars

Album: The Civil Wars

Must Listen Song: “The One That Got Away”


Artist: Courrier

Album: Cathedrals of Color

Must Listen Song: “The City at Night”


Artist: Courtney Jones

Album: All Things That Fall

Must Listen Song: “Back to Me”


Artist: Cowboy Indian Bear

Album: Live Old, Die Young

Must Listen Song: “Does Anybody See You Out?”


Artist: Cull the Heard

Album: Reap the Harvest

Must Listen Song: “I Want More”


Artist: Cults

Album: Static

Must Listen Song: “We’ve Got It”

The Dangerous Summer

Album: Golden Record

Must Listen Song: “Catholic Girls”


Artist: Danny Rush & the Designated Drivers

Album: Malverde

Must Listen Song: “SHT YR FKN MTH MY DRLNG”


Artist: Dead Letter Circus

Album: The Catalyst Fire

Must Listen Song: “Say Your Prayers”


Artist: Deaf Angel

Album: Brutally / Beautiful (Free download!)

Must Listen Song: “Let You Go”


Artist: The Dear Hunter

Album: Migrant

Must Listen Song: “An Escape”


Artist: Dresses

Album: Sun Shy

Must Listen Song: “Friends Are Dead”


Artist: Eisley

Album: Currents

Must Listen Song: “Save My Soul”


Artist: Elle Macho

Album: Import

Must Listen Song: “Hey Dude”


Artist: Fialta

Album: Summer Winter

Must Listen Song: “Photographs”


Artist: Free Dominguez

Album: Volcano + The Sea

Must Listen Song: “Line in the Sand”


Artist: The Frisky Disco

Album: The Frisky Disco (Free download!)

Must Listen Song: “Bobo Cakes”


Artist: Haim

Album: Days Are Gone

Must Listen Song: “The Wire”


Artist: Hawthorne Heights

Album: Zero

Must Listen Song: “Darkside”


Artist: The Head and the Heart

Album: Let’s Be Still

Must Listen Song: “Shake”


Artist: Home By Hovercraft

Album: Are We Chameleons?

Must Listen Song: “Rocket”

IO Echo

Album: Ministry of Love

Must Listen Song: “Ministry of Love”


Artist: The Joy Formidable

Album: Wolf’s Law

Must Listen Song: “This Ladder Is Ours”


Artist: Kaela Sinclair

Album: Sun & Mirror

Must Listen Song: “Original Sin”


Artist: Kate Nash

Album: Girl Talk

Must Listen Song: “Are You There, Sweetheart?”


Artist: Kree Woods

Album: Talking Underwater

Must Listen Song: “Hip, Hip”


Artist: Lily & Madeleine

Album: Lily & Madeleine

Must Listen Song: “Lost Upon the Sea”


Artist: The Limousines

Album: Hush

Must Listen Song: “Bedbugs”


Artist: The Lovely Bad Things

Album: The Late Great Whatever

Must Listen Song: “Fried Eyes”


Artist: Manny the Martyr

Album: Brighter Sun (Free download!)

Must Listen Song: “Hit the Brink”


Artist: The Material

Album: Everything I Want to Say

Must Listen Song: “Born to Make a Sound”


Artist: Mona

Album: Torches & Pitchforks

Must Listen Song: “Goons (Baby, I Need it All)”


Artist: Monahans

Album: Leveler

Must Listen Song: “Forward/Reverse”


Artist: Monahans

Album: Roam an Empty Space

Must Listen Song: “Beat of a Thousand Drums”


Artist: Myla Smith

Album: Hiding Places

Must Listen Song: “Lose Ya” or “Hiding Places”


Artist: Nicholas Altobelli

Album: Without a Home

Must Listen Song: “Blackout”


Album: Ballet the Boxer 1

Must Listen Song: “Pretty Pain”


Artist: Overseas

Album: Overseas

Must Listen Song: “Old Love”


Artist: Panic Volcanic

Album: Freak Fuzz

Must Listen Song: “Set You Free”


Artist: Paramore

Album: Paramore

Must Listen Song: “Fast In My Car”


Artist: Piñata Protest

Album: El Valiente

Must Listen Song: “Life on the Border”


Artist: The Polyphonic Spree

Album: Yes, It’s True

Must Listen Song: “You Don’t Know Me”


Artist: The Postelles

Album: …And it Shook Me

Must Listen Song: “Oh My Luck”


Artist: The Quaker City Night Hawks

Album: Honcho

Must Listen Song: “Lavanderia”


Artist: Quiet Company

Album: A Dead Man On My Back: Shine Honesty Revisited

Must Listen Song: “…and You Said it Was Pretty Here”

Ra Ra Riot

Album: Beta Love

Must Listen Song: “Dance with Me”


Artist: Reinventing Jude

Album: Sundial Soliloquy

Must Listen Song: “Wet Cement”


Artist: The Reynolds Number

Album: The Reynolds Number

Must Listen Song: “Follow You”


Artist: Rude King

Album: It’ll Probably be Alright

Must Listen Song: “The Answer’s Right In Front Of Me”


Artist: The Sammus Theory

Album: Entitled Anonymous

Must Listen Song: “Scarlet Letter Devil”


Artist: Sarah Hurst

Album: Fine to Wait

Must Listen Song: “Fascinate”


Artist: Sean Michel

Album: Electric Delta

Must Listen Song: “Mississippi Mud”


Artist: Shannon LaBrie

Album: Just Be Honest

Must Listen Song: “Gettin’ Tired”


Artist: The Sounds

Album: Weekend

Must Listen Song: “Outlaw”


Artist: Steven Graves

Album: Time Will Tell

Must Listen Song: “When Things Were Simple”


Artist: Tony Ferraro & The Satans of Soft Rock

Album: Friend of Man and Beast Alike

Must Listen Song: “Satanic Verses”


Artist: Triple SP

Album: Disrupting the Harmony

Must Listen Song: “Symptom”


Artist: Twenty One Pilots

Album: Vessel

Must Listen Song: “House of Gold” & “Semi-Automatic”


Artist: Un Chien

Album: Un Chien

Must Listen Song: "Gasoline Rainbow"


Artist: W.A. Fite

Album: Builds. with. Age

Must Listen Song: “Dramatics”


Artist: We’rewolves

Albums: We’rewolves

Must Listen Song: “Words of a Black Suit Politician”


Artist: Whiskey Folk

Album: The Lonesome Underground

Must Listen Song: “Lights On the Highway”


Artist: Wild Child

Album: The Runaround

Must Listen Song: “Crazy Bird”


Artist: The Will Callers

Album: What Else is Left?

Must Listen Song: “House of Falling Cards”

Top 10 EP’s of 2013 (
Spotify Playlist)

1.) Artist: Light the Fire

Album: Light the Fire

Must Listen Song: “All Or Nothing”


2.) Artist: Drayter

Album: Drayter

Must Listen Song: “Scream”


3.) Artist: Here Holy Spain

Album: Under the Undertow

Must Listen Song: “Golden Gun”


4.) Artist: Daylight Industries

Album: Faith Healer

Must Listen Song: “Sit In”


5.) Artist: Son of Swan

Album: Son of Swan

Must Listen Song: "Dog Days"


6.) Artist: Charming Liars

Album: New Disorder

Must Listen Song: “I’m Losing You”


7.) Artist: Enamored

Album: Requiem

Must Listen Song: “Never Again”


8.) Artist: B-Ners

Album: Back to Mexico

Must Listen Song: “Trouble Dog”


9.) Artist: The Circle

Album: Who I Am

Must Listen Song: “The Other Side”


10.) Artist: Paco Estrada

Album: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Must Listen Song: “She”
The Best of the Rest (EP’s) (
Spotify Playlist)

Artist: Amanda Ply

Album: Nothing More Than Me

Must Listen Song: “Stay”


Artist: Anna Lombard

Album: Head Full of Bells

Must Listen Song: “Leave Town”


Artist: The Bedlam Brothers

Album: Saddle Up

Must Listen Song: “We Ride Tonight”


Artist: Best Coast

Album: Fade Away

Must Listen Song: “I Wanna Know”


Artist: Betray the Dreamer

Album: Betray the Dreamer

Must Listen Song: “Transmissions”


Artist: Black Books

Album: Aquarena

Must Listen Song: “Favorite Place”


Artist: Black Taxi

Album: Chiaroscuro

Must Listen Song: “Gone”


Artist: Brandon Callies Band

Album: Life is Still Good

Must Listen Song: “This Love” (Pantera cover)


Artist: Bravo Delta

Album: Shutdown Sequence

Must Listen Song: “We Stand, We Fall”


Artist: Chasin Aces

Album: Lost & Found

Must Listen Song: “Everglow”


Artist: Criminal Birds

Album: Criminal Birds

Must Listen Song: “Chill Out”


Artist: Descender

Album: Slow and Gold

Must Listen Song: “The Language”


Artist: Emily Hearn

Album: Promises

Must Listen Song: “Found a Heart”

The Hanna Barbarians

Album: Spaceway Sessions, Vol. 2

Must Listen Song: "Oh, Spirit"

Artist: Kirk Baxley

Album: Cold as a Stone

Must Listen Song: “Rock ‘n’ Roll in My Veins”


Artist: Kirk Baxley

Album: Southern Son

Must Listen Song: “Times are Changing”


Artist: Lovebettie

Album: Rise

Must Listen Song: “Alarm”


Artist: Mike Mains & the Branches

Album: Everything

Must Listen Song: “In the Night”


Artist: Motel Mirrors

Album: Motel Mirrors

Must Listen Song: “Meet Me On the Corner”


Artist: Noelle Bean

Album: Bean EP

Must Listen Song: “Lois Lane”


Artist: Northern Faces

Album: Southern Places

Must Listen Song: “Under My Skin”


Artist:  Pageantry

Album: Friends of the Year

Must Listen Song: “Dirt”


Artist: Phavian

Album: Meridian II

Must Listen Song: “Hexenring”


Artist: Red Angel Theory

Album: Rise for Something

Must Listen Song: “Inception”


Artist: Rodney Parker & The 50 Peso Reward

Album: The Apology: Part 2 (NOTE: Technically this is an LP, but since some of the tracks were on Part 1, I decided to classify it as an EP.)

Must Listen Song: “Things You Make Me Do”


Artist: Royal Savages

Album: Royal Savages (Free download!)

Must Listen Song: “Racing Tears”


Artist: Signs of Reason

Album: Wake Up

Must Listen Song: “Choke”


Artist: Sleeperstar

Album: Blue Eyes

Must Listen Song: “Replay”


Artist: Solice

Album: Live EP

Must Listen Song: “Paralyzed”


Artist: Susy Sun

Album: Wanderlust

Must Listen Song: “Down”


Artist: The Swear

Album: Gold and Hymns and Hell

Must Listen Song: “Gold and Hymns and Hell”


Artist: Swindle Boys

Album: Motion

Must Listen Song: “Secrets In Our Fists”


Artist: Technicolor Hearts

Album: Under The Big Blue Umbrella Sky

Must Listen Song: “Chorus of Friends”


Artist: Triphazard

Album: Rushing Roulette

Must Listen Song: “Ribcage”


Artist: The Unlikely Candidates

Album: Follow My Feet

Must Listen Song: “Just Breathe”


Artist: Vinyl Pilot

Album: A Beautiful Disaster

Must Listen Song: “A Beautiful Disaster”


Artist: We the Ghost

Album: Sinking Suspicion

Must Listen Song: “Take Somebody Home”


Artist: White Elephant

Album: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1

Must Listen Song: “Song For The Sick And Hopeless”
Top 10 Concerts of 2013:
Riverboat Gamblers on Tuesday, 8-20-2013 @ Rubber Gloves.
2.) The Dirty River Boys w/ Whiskey Folk & Matt the Cat Trio on Friday, 11-22-2013 @ Granada Theater.
3.) Nothing More w/ Little Sisters of the Poor, Ursa & The Last Place You Look on Friday, 6-21-2013 @ Trees.
4.) Ours on Saturday, 8-10-2013 @ The Prophet Bar.
5.) Twenty One Pilots on Thursday, 11-14-2013 @ House of Blues.
6.) Sick Puppies w/ Charming Liars on Tuesday, 9-17-2013 @ House of Blues.
7.) Band of Heathens w/ The Southern Renaissance & Jamie Wilson on Friday, 12-20-2013 @ Granada Theater.
8.) Centro-matic w/ Tony Ferraro & the Satans of Soft Rock on Thursday, 1-31-2013 @ Dan’s Silverleaf.
9.) Muse w/ Dead Sara on Wednesday, 3-13-2013 @ American Airlines Center.
10.) Ishi (Digital Wounds CD release show) on Friday, 5-3-2013 @ Granada Theater.
There’s no doubt that 2013 was the best year yet for this little ol’ blog, in terms of traffic an such. I’d also have to say it was the most fun year I’ve had doing this thus far.

Let’s see; In all, I saw (and reviewed) 127 concerts this year. Marking not only my 500th concert, but also my 600th within this past 365 days. I attended my 100th concert (and then some) at my favorite venue, The Curtain Club. I went to SXSW (something I’ll hopefully repeat in 2014) for the first time ever, which was truly something else. The copious amounts of free music going on during that must be what heaven is like. Seriously, 10+ hour  days spent seeing a ton of bands from all over the world was great.

Aside from that, 2013 saw the official launch of On Tour Monthly, an online webzine I’m fortunate enough to be a staff writer for and contribute reviews to from time to time. There’s a ton of potential with that, and the websites already generating some good buzz, and it’s just a privilege to be a small part of it.

I also met and formed a partnership with a newer organization in the Dallas music scene; DFW Undercover.

So, as my seventh year of doing this draws to a close, I have to say, I feel good about it all. I’ve managed to carve out a good little niche for myself, but above that, I’ve met some awesome people, be them band members or fellow fans like myself.

And while I don’t say this nearly often enough, thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever visited this site. Thanks to everyone who has ever read anything I wrote or shared a review I did, or anything else that has been supportive. I’ve said since I started doing this that even if I can reach just one person and turn them on to a band they weren’t familiar with before, I’ll be satisfied. I still stand by that sentiment.

After all, whatever your passion is in, you don’t do that with the sole goal of getting famous or anything. Sure, that would be a nice by-product, but that’s not what it’s all about. Whether you’re a photographer, a musician, an aspiring writer like myself, or whatever, it’s about the sheer love you have for what you enjoy doing, because it’s an extension of yourself. And in the end, that’s more than enough.

Anyway, I hope you’ll all continue to enjoy the in-depth concert reviews I’ll be posting in the year to come.

Happy 2014!

Friday, June 22nd, 2013 – Nothing More

Trees was the place to be this night, as the venue played host to a night of local bands, some from the Dallas area, and others were more regional, hailing from other parts of Texas.

One of those regional bands was The Last Place You Look, a band that primarily sticks to their hometown of Houston, making this Dallas show a rare one for the group.

They had brought some lights with them, as four panels set scattered across the pitch black stage, while the four instrumentalists produced some notes and beats to lead them into their first song. Then, vocalist Nava strode on stage as they exploded into a track from their “See the Light Inside You” record, “Don’t Make it so Easy”. Being relatively early, there wasn’t much of a crowd, but those who were there seemed instantly captivated by the raw rock sound and Navas’ booming bass voice, which is one of the most unique ones out there. “…We’ll all change the world someday, just don’t forget what we’re fighting for…” he belted out on the chorus of that killer track. As soon as it came to an end, guitarists, Derek Young and Richard Sherwood, drummer, Mikey Garcia and bassist Kevin Pool wound them into another dynamic track from their most recent album, “Just Let it Go”.

“It’s been about three years since the last time we played Dallas.” Said Nava, adding, “We’ve written some new stuff in three years.” With that, they did a couple of newer tracks, both of which were every bit as aggressive and fast-paced as their older songs, though there might have been a little more of an edge to the new stuff. The audience barely had time to applaud the band of that second new song when they launched into “Lie to the Silence”, and afterwards slowed things down a bit with “Band to Save Me”. It’s hard evidence that they are capable of more than just roaring guitar riffs and heavy bass lines and drum beats, as it has more of a slow acoustic vibe, before cresting to a point that can rival their other stuff.

During one last conversation with the crowd, Nava mentioned they shouldn’t wait another three years to come back to Dallas, a sentiment everyone seemed to agree with, and then noted they had two songs left. “Come on, Dallas!” shouted Mikey as they tore off on another song, which was arguably one of the best of their set, then ended their 35-minute long set with “I’ve Got a Question for You… Why Are You Still Here?”, which is one of their most brutal songs, and brought things to a fantastic finish.

I understand why The Last Place You Look was relegated to the first slot, since they aren’t that well known in these parts, but they deserved to go on much later than what they did. Every aspect of their performance was very well calculated, and there’s no way you could watch them and just think they are your run-of-the-mill band.

Nava was electric, storming about the stage, making the most out of the little room he had, and did everything from jumping up on the drum riser to standing on the monitors, towering over the crowd. Richard, Derek and Kevin were a little more confined with their movements, but their musicianship managed to balance it out, as they shredded on their instruments, often in pretty tight synchronize with the drums, which Kevin was playing like no one’s business.

Honestly, they’re show is every bit as good as many national touring bands, and hopefully they’ll bring that lively performance back to Dallas sometime soon. At least sooner than three years from now.

Now that their tour with Nothing More is done, the calendar for The Last Place You Look is empty, but keep an eye on it, ‘cause they’ll surely be doing something soon. In the meantime, they have an LP and an EP you can and should check out in iTUNES.

Following them up was Dallas’s own Ursa, who I hadn’t seen in about a year, and they had been laying low as of late.

“Let’s do this.” You heard singer Michael Keeney say, before the lights dimmed and the curtain was drawn open.

“This Is Your Captain Speaking” began their brief 32-minute long set, and it served as a good warm-up song for the band, while being one that actively engaged their fans. The quintet had some new songs peppered in throughout their set, and did one here, and it helped them hit their stride as they found their performer personas. They had just seemed a bit rigid during that opening number, but now guitarists Jovan Santos and Dave Perez sprang more into action, commanding the audience better, while Michael started to more prowl about the stage as he does in a way that is completely unique to his character.

They solidified their footing on one of their fan favorites, “Aim to Please”, where Michaels’ voice soared on the chorus, “…I will break your fall to absorb your pain…” Considering their long absence from a stage, they had gotten back in the swing of things pretty quickly, and their next two new songs, which were segued together, were the best of their show. The first of the two was very percussion driven, and the credit for that goes to the talented drummer Ross Rubio, and bassist Pat Llull helped round out that rhythm sound. The next tune featured some catchy guitar riffs, and was just all around a killer song.

Their set wound down just like their self-titled debut album does, with the next to last track from it, “Buffalo”, which is equal parts instrumental music and vocal parts, and at around six minutes (give or take) in length, it’s easily their most epic song. It was followed by the subsequent and final song on the record, “Apogee”, which brought their set to a mighty finish.

It was a pretty great, though it seemed to pass by all too quickly. Not that, that’s necessarily a bad thing, it just means it was so enjoyable it didn’t seem as long as it really was.

They really took charge of things and owned it, and honestly, this was probably the second best show I’ve seen the band put on. Aside from that, they just have some well crafted music that is sure to get your attention, and Michael has a more distinctive voice than most singers do.

You can download their first album for free by going to their REVERBNATION PAGE, and while there you can also have a listen to one of the new tracks from their forthcoming record.

Moving Atlas was supposed to have the main support slot this night, but a family emergency with one of the band members meant they had to cancel. Picking up the slack for them, though, was Little Sisters of the Poor, which does happen to feature one-fifth of Moving Atlas, and this was only the bands third electric show.

The super group ripped into their 45-minute long set with one of the two singles they had released thus far, “Spires”. The driving drumbeats Gabe Muzquiz was playing at the start definitely called everyone’s attention to the band, and things only got better as the guitars and bass lines were laid over it. It thrust everyone right into the music, giving everyone a pretty good idea of what the band was about, and they continued their barrage of music as Jason Jones wound them right into their next song, which I believe was “Love, Money and Death”, with some sweet licks. From it they transitioned directly (and smoothly) into their next song before taking a break after finishing it.

“We are called Little Sisters of the Poor.” Said front man Dunagin Gaines, who soon announced the bands next song, “Ruins”. I recalled it being one of my favorites from their first gig, though it got off to a slower start than I remembered. It soon exploded into one of their best songs of the night, though, with Dunagin aggressively shouting part of the chorus, “…Structures turn to ruins. Ruins turn to bones…” Afterwards, they changed the mood up with a song that got off to a bit of a slow, eerie start, which was rather behooving of the song and set an excellent mood. Eventually, it rose to life, though, and at one point during it Dunagin even hopped up on the drum riser than leapt off it.

“This is what we call dead air.” He said in the silence that followed that previous song, which occurred because his band mates were tuning their instruments. They ran through a couple more songs, one of which was a much lighter song than most of their other stuff, though had a nice vibe to it. “I know most of these songs are new to you, but this one’s new to us.” Dunagin stated before they tackled “Truck Stop Heaven”. I dug the song at their acoustic set the previous Friday, but it sounded much better now, being fleshed out with the electric sounds from Jason and Jackson Dunn’s guitars, and bassist Joe Becker was able to get more into it now that he wasn’t having to hold back.

That led them to their final song, which was another one they laid down on their first trip to the studio and have since released. That song was “Cooker”, and it’s quite possibly the best song in the bands arsenal. It’s raw and volatile, just like any good rock song should be, and it was one last opportunity for Jackson, Joe, Jason, Gabe and Dunagin to cut loose and give it their all. Actually, on that note, Jason could be seen letting loose a few moves on his guitar that any FEDS fan would remember from that band’s song, “Housefire”.

It was one hell of a way to end one hell of a set, and before the curtain closed, Dunagin made sure to thank Moving Atlas for letting them fill the slot on this bill.

They might not have much more live show experience together as a group, but it was evident they seemed a little more cohesive then they were at their first show. But on the flip-side, with each of them being longtime veterans of the scene, it doesn’t matter much that this is still a new band for them, because they’re all completely comfortable on stage and now just how to act as performers.

They may be a very young band, but I already think they are worthy of being one of the best rock groups currently in the D/FW metroplex, and if you haven’t seen one of their shows yet, go check them out and you’ll surely end up agreeing with that.

Their next gig will be at the Curtain Club in Dallas on July 26th, and if you go into iTUNES you can find a few of their singles, and they should be releasing a few more in the coming months.

Bringing the night to a close was San Antonio’s own Nothing More, who was headlining Trees for the first time ever.

This was a big show for the band, because after touring on their last record for about four years now, they were finally getting around to releasing a new album. An album they’ve spent the last few years working on and they had been touring the region heavily since releasing it just a few weeks prior to this. In fact, Dallas was the seventh stop on the tour that encompassed various parts of Texas and the neighboring states.

At 12:08 the lights dimmed and the rather large crowd roared with excitement as the band eased into their massive set…

An instrumental prelude started off their set, and Daniel Oliver was seen strumming the strings of his bass rather than plucking them, which made a very fluid sound. Some guitar riffs and slight drumbeats were eventually added in, courtesy of Mark Vollelunga and Paul O’Brien, respectively. Mark even raised his guitar to his mouth, plucking a few strings with his teeth, resulting in a killer, ear piercing sound, but it wasn’t until the backing track kicked on that the song was revealed. It was the lead track from their new self-titled record and one of the small handful of new tracks that has been in their live set for a while, now, and that was “Ballast”.

“When did we become these sinking stones? When did we build this broken home?…” roared singer Jonny Hawkins at the start of this newer and immediate fan favorite, which had a majority of the crowd already singing along and pumping their fists in the air as things got off to a ferocious start. They followed it right up with one of many songs that made their Dallas debut this night, and one I had been anxiously waiting to hear live for a very long time, “Christ Copyright”. Jonny belted out the chorus, “They’re selling heaven tonight. Sign on the dotted line. They got your Christ on copyright.”, as did the throng of passionate fans who were obviously already very deeply invested in the bands set.

Sure, this night was all about the new album, but some older stuff was still sprinkled throughout the show, and bridging that song to the next was an instrumental from the old “Save You/Save Me” record, “Under The Eyes of Selene”, which is dominated by Mark as he shredded on his axe. It soon gave way to the song it is a prelude to, “Sixty Second Affair”, a song that I’m glad still has a place in the bands setlist. The song is just one of a plethora of examples of how tight a unit Nothing More really is, with Dan and Mark adding some backing vocals on the chorus, “I feel, I feel.” With Jonny chiming in right after, “I’m going out of my mind.” Granted, many bands utilize backing vocals in a similar way, but it’s just different with these guys and it seems more precise than most. It was the ending, though, that took the cake, as Jonny put his drum kit to use, adding some additional percussion to the rapid beats Paul was already producing. He tore it up on his smaller three-piece kit, alternating which drum stick he was playing with and the one not in use at the moment got flipped in the air before he struck it against one of the drums.

Not long ago you could expect to hear most of “The Few Not Fleeting” record at a NoMo show, but this night only a handful of songs from it were touched. They managed to hit the highlights, though, and from that previous song wound it right into the in-your-face and emotionally charged song, “Gone”. Afterwards, they did another somewhat emotional song, though in a far different way from that previous song about Jonnys’ mother’s battle with cancer. Instead, the next song took a look at today’s society, and at the start of “Mr. MTV” Mark again used his teeth as a pick for his guitar. “…Just one bite to understand, even Eve couldn’t live without the iPlan”. That was one of the lines of that song I found the most intriguing, then, towards the end, Jonny revealed he’s still unearthing different qualities to his voice, screaming/bellowing in a very low register, reminiscent of some metal bands, on the line, “Do this, buy that. Get my drugs and sex. More drugs, want sex, need sex.”

It was then time for another oldie, and one I longed to hear, though had kept my expectations low. But as soon as Mark fired up “Bullets And Blue Eyes”, I reached a state of euphoria (or rather got more euphoric than I had already been). Even after hearing all their new stuff that one still remains my favorite nothing More song. “…You never hold me when you’re sober. To hell with our love. You drink the blood…” sang Jonny on the song’s bridge, before holding the microphone out towards the audience, allowing them to finish the line, “And I’ll drink the wine.” Sensational. Absolutely sensational.

Most times I would say that song was the pinnacle of their set, but not this night, and they weren’t anywhere close to letting up, either, as they new song that they’ve been performing for well over a year now, “First Punch”. “I’ll throw the first punch, because I’ve kept my mouth shut for far too long…” goes the chorus, setting a great mood about being fed up with a situation and taking matters into your own hands. As the song trailed off, Jonny walked over to stage right and grabbed the stand that fits into the wrought iron framework that his drums fit into, going back to his kit and placing it in its slot. Then, with the stand facing the crowd, Dan removed his bass and placed it on it. Their stunt with the bass is part of what captivates a person who witness their live shows, but a majority of their North Texas fans most likely missed the bands last stop through town, when they were on tour with Adrenaline Mob, having no clue they were about to see a whole new spin put on an old trick.

Dan ran his fingers along the strings, up and down the neck, and Mark soon joined him, standing on the opposite side of the bass and tapping some string, all the while Jonny worked Dans’ pedal board while Paul rocked out on the drums. After that had gone on a few minutes, Dan spun the rod that held the bass, causing it to do a 360 plus a 180, then was set into place upside down, with the neck pointing down at the crowd. Throughout the course of this the fans were chanting along, “HEY, HEY, HEY…” over and over, and at this point Jonny joined in, grabbing some drum sticks and jumping on top of his bass drum, using the sticks to play the bass as Mark and Dan held down the strings. Periodically, they would even quickly spin the bass over. It’s truly one of the most original things I’ve ever seen any band do, and that alone is worth going to a Nothing More show. Seriously, everyone should experience that moment firsthand at least once, and to get an idea of what I’m talking about watch THIS video.

Once they got back to their positions, Dan thanked the crowd, going as far as saying as this “ is the best night of our lives.” That’s saying a lot, and even if that might have been an overstatement, this was no doubt the best night they had ever had in Dallas.

They got back to album tracks with the extremely catchy “If I Were”, and like every other song of theirs, it’s a powerhouse tune.  “Here’s To The Heartache” was another killer number and was also quite uplifting, with the basic message being that everything happens for a reason. So far, things had been pretty standard, but they ended up having one major surprise up their sleeve, and they unveiled it now.

“…If you’ve seen us a lot, you know we never play this song…” said Jonny, a sentence that can be uttered by any band in existence in any variation and it’s guaranteed to instantly pique the interest of every fan in attendance. He added it had probably been three years since they last played it, and out of the many years I’ve been supporting these guys, the only time I ever heard this song performed live was up in Denton at the now renamed Boiler Room, probably around three to four years ago.

“You’re the ghost in my mind, thorn in my side. Sober in my dreams, you’re dead in real life…” Jonny crooned as they played the short prelude known as “Dirge”, which set up the seldom heard “Fell in Love with a Ghost”. “It’s the seasons for reasons to justify treason, you’re leaving and letting me die alone. The spirits you wear show the sins that you bear, with every drink you’re letting me go…” he sang, spitting the words out at a lightning pace. It was awesome getting to hear that song, which I look at as being one of the best tracks form their ’09 release, again, and it was one of the many highlight songs of their show.

Bridging that song to the next was a soft bass solo, as most of the stage lights dimmed, while Dan was bathed in bright white light. That served as an unexpected segue into the extremely heavy and thick, “The Matthew Effect”. It was on this song that they, specifically Jonny, made the only mistake of the show, or at least the only one I caught. He flubbed a portion of the first verse, tripping over the words and losing his place and had a brief look of disbelief, like he couldn’t believe he had done that. That makes sense, since that’s another song they’ve been doing for a while now, and every time I’ve seen them it has been flawless. It wasn’t a total disaster, though, as Mark stepped up to sing a few words before Jonny got back on track, and it was smooth sailing from then on.

During the next break in between songs, the guys made sure to dedicate this show to singer/songwriter Paco Estrada, a man whom they often said is one of the reasons they are a band, as he helped them in their formative years. Now they also thanked him for all the work he put in with helping them on this new album, and he helped co-write several of the songs they did this night. Once that was out of the way, the band welcomed Nava of The Last Place You Look on stage, saying he lent his voice on the next track, and he was going to do the same thing for the live version.

The two dynamic front men somewhat co-sang “Sex & Lies”, a song about being cheated on, and is filled with wonderful lines like, “…I wanna to hear it from the whore, the horse’s mouth…”, and, “…Now that you’ve slept with the town, I’ll burn this damn place to the ground…”. As they reached the end, the rest of The Last Place You Look ran up on stage, and just about every single one of the musicians harmonized on the final part, “Ooooh, oooh…”, which was really set off by Nava’s deep voice. Upon finishing it they joked that when they first wrote that song they never thought they’d get Nava to add some vocals on it, let alone be able to tour with the band and have them sing it that way live. “…We did imagine that when we did that song live we’d be joined by a bunch of drunken pirates, though…” Mark added laughing.

I knew they had been playing for a while, simply because of all the songs they had squeezed in, though the time had flown by, and now they had just one more left. In typical Nothing More fashion, they concluded their 66-minute long set with “Salem”, complete with one of the variations of their drum solo that they do. After the second chorus, both Dan and Mark grabbed the tom that sat on their respective sides of the stage, meeting at center stage, allowing Jonny to not only play his kit, but also bang on those two additional pieces, as the two flipped the toms around, constantly moving them to different spots in the air. Then, in closing, they got some more fan participation, as the audience shouted “BURN!” each time the mic was held out to them.

That had been one hell of a show, but there was one fan favorite that had gone un-played, and the fact that the curtain remained open gave hope that they might do it yet.

Only a few seconds passed before they returned to the stage for what they made clear would be their final song. “I used to be a slave to the cookie.” Said Dan, offering that short sentence in place of the lengthy speech that used to set up the following song, which was “Fat Kid”, and with it they rounded out the night perfectly.

Best Nothing More show ever? Possibly, at least out of the dozen plus that I’ve seen.

The time and effort they put into learning all these new songs for the live show bled through during their performance, and you could tell they had rehearsed everything to a tee, and the final payoff was these songs seeming like they had been played live hundreds of times. It was all so tight, so precise, but never to the point of coming across as mechanical.

Their show is something to behold and marvel at, and with all the energy they pack into each individual song, let alone the entire show, they can easily upstage most big name national touring bands, and that’s a standard expectation of their shows, and one they never fail to meet. In fact, and perhaps it was just for these CD release shows, but all the same, they pushed themselves to a new level this night, which is an impressive feat.

As for this new album, as much as I hated waiting for years to get it, it was worth the long wait. In all there are seventeen tracks on it (some of which are preludes and such), and minus those preludes there are thirteen amazing songs, none of which you’ll skip over.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy, and for the time being it’s only available from their STORE or at live shows. You can also purchase their older stuff on iTUNES. As for shows, they’ve wrapped up their CD release tour and are taking a little break, and for now their only upcoming dates are August 1st at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas and September 14th at the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, California.

This was an amazing night, and one of the best shows I’ve seen in some time, or even ever for that matter, and I bet it’ll be a little while before this one gets topped.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 – Part II: A Little Bit of NoMo

Once I left that other show, I was unsure if I would be able to catch Nothing More over at Hailey’s or not, and finally got a text back from Matt “WhiskeyBoy” who said the band had not started yet.

I had missed a few great bands that were opening for them, like Admiral Grey, but at least I could work Nothing More into my Denton excursion.

Nothing More was setting up when I got there, and shortly after 12:30, they were ready to go…

Guitarist, Mark Vollelunga , bassist, Daniel Oliver, and drummer, Paul O’Brien, took to the stage first, and started rocking out, while their sample intro track played over them. “…But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it!” the track went, which I believe is a quote from one of the Matrix films. That was when Jonny Hawkins rushed onto the stage, and started fiercely beating on his few piece drum kit that set at center stage. That led them headfirst into the lead track from “The Few Not Fleeting”, “Gone”. It took Jonny a minute to really find his voice, but by the time they hit the chorus, he was in the swing of things, running about the stage and jumping up on the monitors and his drum set, while the fans sang every word right along with him. The instrumental, “Under The Eyes of Selene”, followed immediately after, during which Mark downright shreds on the notes, giving way to “Sixty Second Affair”. It shows how cohesive the band is and how well they work together, with Dan and Mark singing portions of the song, “I feel, I feel.”, with Jonny handling the lines in between. “Denton, it’s been too long…” said Johnny, once the song was over, a statement that their fans seemed to agree with. After mentioning how glad they were to be back this way, they tackled a few songs that will appear on their new album (whenever that comes out), like “First Punch”.  I think it’s a sign that you’ve seen a band a lot when you know the lyrics to a song that can only be heard at shows at the moment, but I was far from being the only one singing along to it. In fact, more than a few fans were helping out on the chorus, “I’ll throw the first punch, ‘cause I’ve kept my mouth shut for far too long…” Pretty much the same thing can be said of the following song, and after it was when things got real exciting. While Paul and Mark laid down some music, Jonny went and grabbed a stand that fits into the wrought iron case that his drums are secured in. Dan then placed his bass on the stand and swung it over so it faced the crowd. Dan stood on one side, holding down some of the strings, while Jonny played the bass with a pair of drumsticks. Eventually Mark got over by them, beginning a chant of, “HEY!”, until the little stunt was over. Even though I’ve seen these guys do that many times over now, that still remains one of the most original and downright coolest things I’ve ever seen a band do. After another new song, they got back to some stuff from their current album, with the slightly slower, “It Seems…”.  They still throw in a part of The Beatles classic, “Eleanor Rigby”, blending it right in after the second chorus, with Jonny singing, “Look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from?” It’s an appropriate cover to work in, since a line from their song is, “…He said he wants to die. He wonders how anyone survives being overlooked and trite…” Thus far, it had been the same setlist the band has been using for awhile (not that, that’s a bad thing), but next came something I had never heard them do before. It was a cover song, I believe by the band, Thrice. And if that is correct, than it was the song, “Firebreather”. It was a standout rendition of it, better than the original in my humble opinion, and lyrically it really fit with some of Nothing More’s other material. Afterwards, Jonny asked for some help on another new song they had to do. “…It’s called Ballast…” he said, which was greeted with a roar from the fans. It’s certainly the best new song they’ve done (at least out of the small handful that have been played), and easily the most intense. It’s just one of those songs that you know is special, and one a band could spend their entire carrier trying to write, and still never come up with it. I got a pleasant surprise with the next song, which was my favorite of the bands, “Bullets And Blue Eyes”, though it’s not always a staple at shows. That said, to say I was ecstatic when Mark launched them into the song would be an understatement, and I relished every single second of that killer tune. Once it was done, Dan had a few words for the crowd, and it made me a little sad when he mentioned that this might be the final time he says this in Denton. He went into his “I Have a Dream Speech”, which begins with that line, and he proceeds to run through several funny things, which correspond to the next song, “Fat Kid”. He ends it with, “…I had a dream, where beef was always what’s for dinner!”, tearing into the song at that point. At this point in the show, they made mention of a big tour they had been wanting to be a part of for awhile, and, according to Jonny, all they had to secure a spot on it was have Mark “…perform a sexual favor…” None of them could keep from laughing once that had been said. They mentioned the tour will begin on the East Coast, and that Dallas will be one of the stops on it. With that, they were ready to bring their 55-minute long set to a close, and did that with what else, but “Salem”. It’s during that song that they do another nifty trick. Both Dan and Mark picked up a drum (a tom to be specific), with Dan eventually ending up with each of them, one on either shoulder. He stood a little closer to the full drum kit, while both Jonny and Mark started making rounds, one playing a few beats on the smaller drum set, while the other knocked out a few on the ones Dan was holding. Moments later, he ditched them, leaving the drums laying on the stage, as they all returned to their normal positions, and with the audiences help, wrapped up the song.

Usually, that’s it, because the band doesn’t make a real habit out of doing encores. Evidently, several people thought it was over with that, and retreated to the bar area, while some holdouts stayed gathered around the stage, chanting for one more.

It became undeniable, and soon they returned. “Okay, okay. We’ll do one more.” Said Mark. The last one left in the chamber was “Love?”, and it was the perfect way to conclude the night.

I mentioned they followed the same basic setlist as the past several times I’ve seen them, and while most times that can get repetitive to me, Nothing More is one of the rare exceptions to that. I guess it simply has to do with how much I enjoy their music, and even if there isn’t a whole lot of anticipation for over what they might play, I still love hearing and singing along to these songs just as much as I did the first time I heard them. You couple that with their live show, which is filled with an overabundance of energy and a ton of stage presence, and you have something that can be enjoyed many times over.

The tour they have hopped on is with the band, Adrenaline Mob, and will run from March through early April. Go HERE to see all the tour dates. It will lead them through several parts of the country, and if ends up coming to a town near you, you need to go. If for no other reason than just to see Nothing More. Also, check out their album, “The Few Not Fleeting”, and, sometime in the future, they will be releasing their long awaited follow-up album to it.

This had been quite the night in Denton, and I got to see not one, but two amazing rock shows. And really, how can you beat that?

Nothing More

Friday, August 24th, 2012 – Nothing More

Dallas or Denton? I was on the fence as to where to go and what show to see, at least until Matt “WhiskeyBoy” (shameless plug, check out the WhiskeyBoy Radio Network) asked if I was going to go to the one up in Denton at Andy’s Bar. “If you’re going I’ll try to go.” he said, and I told him I’d definitely be there if he was able to get away from his family life for a bit, because it’s always great to hang out with that guy. There were a lot of other friendly faces there, too. “Otter” from Night Gallery, Jeremy from SpaceCamp, Cody of the late, great Truffula Tree, and a handful of others. So not only was this going to be a great night of rock music, but good company, too.

I arrived as The Commotion was finishing sound check and just about ready to play. “I need another perspective, ‘cause this one’s trying to cage my mind…”, sang vocalist and guitarist, Micah Creel, starting them into the routine opener, “Carry On”. Guitarists, Josh Sanders and Justin Middleton, bassist, Justin Hold, and drummer, Ross Rubio, soon joined, and once the song picked up its pace, they let loose. The stage was a bit cramped with all five of them, and it did seem to hinder them as far as movement goes, specifically Justin H., though they didn’t let that stop them from rocking out, thrashing around to the beats. A sample track began to play, segueing them right into “Crim”, which has the ever so great chorus, “Your contagious smile spreads like wildfire, infecting everyone within sight.” They followed it with a cover of a HUM song, “Stars”, and then went into a couple new songs, one after the other. Both sounded great, and they seemed to have even more of a pure rock sound than what their older stuff does. Speaking of older material, they got back to it with “Just a Test”, another song that shows what a great writer Micah is, with the line, “…Nothing in life will ever come easy. No, not if it has such powerful meaning…”. With that, they were already at the final song of their 30 minute set, and they ended with the catchy, “Backseat Driver (Wash it Away)”.

It was a very good set, and these guys never disappoint. But as was discussed on the WBR Podcast a couple nights later (check it out HERE), The Commotion has never (to my knowledge) headlined a show. They are more than capable, and have several songs they no longer do but could if they had the time. It comes across more like the band is a fun project for them, and if that’s all they want out of it, then that’s fine. They certainly have their fan base (which obviously includes myself) and out on a good show… But they could be so much more. You can next see them on September 29th at The Curtain Club in Dallas.

Next up was Paco Estrada, who has been laying fairly low these days. Used to you could expect at least one show a month from him, but the last time I remember seeing one of his shows was when he played here back in May, with very few D-FW area shows since then. It wasn’t just him, though, as he had a band of sorts with him. One guy playing a bass, one on the drums, while Paco of course played an acoustic guitar. They, too got a 30 minute set, and fit various songs from Paco’s career into it. Up first where a couple songs from Paco’s latest album, “The Definite and Indefinite…”. “Been living my life like a ghost in the rain, slowly losing my mind slowly going insane, wandering around in the middle of the road, just another lost soul in another fishbowl…” sang Paco, beginning “The Damage That’s Done”. His band mates joined in after that, giving the song a little more rock vibe. The song is prime example of the prolific writer that Paco is, as is what followed, the beautiful, “All I’ll Ever Be”. “…I’ve tried so hard at loving me, but loving you comes so naturally…” he croons on the chorus, right after, “…The hardest part of letting go is knowing when to walk away…”. The first two tracks from that album were a good way to get the show going, but for the next few songs they had some surprises up their sleeves. “Reckless Love” is probably best known from the days of Paco Estrada & One Love (circa 2008-2010), and when he sang the first line, “Do you remember when, the day our love began?…”, I was pleasantly surprised. I mentioned Paco hasn’t done any shows in awhile. Well, he is a part of SpaceCamp, who did a show the previous month. And at that show the band covered a song which made it into Paco’s show this night. It was “Drive” by The Cars, and it sounded pretty good, though not as good as what was next. I saw several One Loves shows during the bands existence, and out of all of those I had heard them to practically all of “The Anatomy of Letting Go” live, sans one song (unless I just flat out don’t remember it). There shouldn’t be much question that “Let Love In” had the strongest message of all the songs on that album, and I really couldn’t believe they were playing it now. It’s truly a gorgeous song, speaking of how powerful love can be, and how we should treat everyone with a little bit of it. Their set had gone by far too quickly, and almost seemed like it was over now, as Paco did his standard, “Thank you for your time and your patience.” But fortunately they had time for one last song, “Breaking Down”, and at the end of it they had part of a cover song tacked on.

It was an incredible set, I just wish it hadn’t passed in the blink of an eye, which was how it seemed to me. He’s good enough as a solo musician, but there’s no doubt that the bass and drums added an extra depth to the songs that can’t be achieved solo. And as I say practically every time I see one of his shows, you will be hard pressed to find a better sing/songwriter. Not just here in the Dallas area, but the world.

You can catch him at Tree’s in Dallas on September 7th, then on the 29th he will be doing a very special show at the Curtain Club in Dallas. That night he will be fronting the band, The Last Romantica, who tragically lost their singer far too soon. A memorial show was held a few months ago for him, with various singers singing a song or two, but Paco and the band decided to work on some songs, create enough for an album and do a onetime only show where they play the entire thing live. Their full set will be recorded that night of the 29th and in due time will become the album. Don’t miss out on that. And do visit his BANDCAMP PAGE to find most of the music he has released.

The American Tragedy, a band from Louisiana, was next. I had seen them some time ago at a show in Dallas, like, two years or so ago, and remembered them being good, but aside from that my memory was incredible vague. They got their 40ish minute set going with an older song, and this four-piece group sprung to life, giving the impression that this was going to be a pretty great show. They followed it up with a tune from their new EP, “Blood On the Stage”, a high-energy song that had me thinking maybe there would be some blood on the stage, ‘cause at the pace they were moving around, accidents could happen. It has a catchy bridge, where the instruments are scaled back a bit, as singer and rhythm guitarist, Adam, sings, “Forgive me Jesus, for I have sinned. I’m listening to Rock ‘N’ Roll records again. I like my Sabbath black and my lizzy thin…”. Upon finishing it, Adam told everyone they could go buy “The Flame” in iTunes, and that the next song, which was “Everyone Will Finish”, was off it as well. Drummer, Trey started them into it, while the guitars and bass soon roared to life. The song has a real sense of urgency to it, and packs quite a punch. They then got into some older stuff, and I might not have know it, but they powered through each song, showing that they were merely warming up, because they just got better and better. Ryan tore it up on the bass, while both Jackie and Adam shredded on their axes, all getting very into the performance. Towards the end of their set they brought things down a bit with the title track of their latest release, “The Flame”, which still has a nice rock sound to it.

Damn, these guys were much better than I remembered. They know how to write some killer songs that will have no problem engaging you, the listener, as they have quite the knack for penning hard hitting and catchy songs. And when combined with a stellar live show, it makes for a live show that will definitely stick with you.

The band has a few albums for sale, and you can find all of them HERE. Also, be sure to keep tabs on their FACEBOOK PAGE for show updates. Speaking of which, they really need to get to the Dallas area more often.

Closing out the night were guys from San Antonio who are collectively known as Nothing More. They got all their stuff set up, and a little after 12:30, they were ready to roll.

After some killer rock music to get everyone’s adrenaline flowing, they tore into the first song of the night, “Gone”. I’m enjoying that song again being used as the opener, and after vocalist, Jonny Hawkins, banged out some beats on his small drum set before lead guitarist, Mark Vollelunga, tore off into the instrumental, “Under The Eyes of Selene”, which soon bled into “Sixty Second Affair”. “It’s been awhile, Denton.” Jonny remarked, saying they were going to do a few new songs. It might have also been at this point that he said their brand new record is getting closer to being done, and thanked everyone for bearing with them in this long process, but also pointing out that it should be well worth the wait. And with these morsels that they did and have been playing for a while now, I have no doubt it will be well worth the wait. “First Punch” was one of those songs, and you know you have a killer song and dedicated fans, who were already singing along to the chorus, “…I’ll throw the first punch, ‘cause I kept my mouth shut for far too long…”. Another heavy new one followed, during which Jonny knocked the chorus, “…Until you realize, you’re not Jesus Christ…”, out of the park. Their show only got more exciting afterwards when Daniel Oliver removed his bass, making it pretty clear what was coming next. Jonny picked up the rod that fits into the metal case that surrounds his drum kit, with Dan placing his bass into the slot of said rod. While he stood on stage right of it, holding down the strings, Jonny played it by hitting various strings with a pair of drumsticks. It livened up further when Mark finished riffing on his guitar, then walked over to his band mates and held down some strings on the neck, while drummer, Paul O’Brien, kept the beats going on the drums. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, seeing that never gets old. They got back down to business with another new(er) tune, then slowed things down a bit with “It Seems…”, which I’m very glad has found its way into regular rotation, and the addition of the chorus from The Beatles song, “Eleanor Rigby”, after the second chorus in their song really sets it off, being the piece de resistance. “Where going to do something different.” Jonny said when it was over, and I think had a lot of people wondering if “different” was going to be good or not. “I had a way then, losing it all on my own. I had a heart then, but the queen has been overthrown…” he began, revealing the song to be a very unexpected rendition of the Ellie Goulding song, “ Lights”. If you didn’t already know the song to some degree, you certainly wouldn’t have this night. It was very much a rock song, and louder and heavier than the original is, which made it all their own. It was very good in a weird way, but then again, I recall some shows a few years back where they covered “I Kissed a Girl”, so I guess taking a pop song sung by a female artist and then tweaking it to fit their style of music is nothing new. Fans didn’t have to long to recover from that, as the sample track for “Ballast” soon fired up. It’s another heavy hitter, and you could tell just how in tune these guys are with one another. Jonny was overlooking the crowd before the second verse, but began singing it at the precise moment Paul started back in on the drums, and it’s that tightness and key precision that will keep you coming back to see this band. For anyone who might remember, the band used to cover a song by the local Dallas outfit, SouthFM (which was fronted by Paco Estrada), but it has been some time since I’ve heard them do “Vesica Piscis”. They switched things up again, though, not doing that song per say, but rather the prelude to it. Dan got on a keyboard, which had a deeper sound, more like an organ, and they did something to change the tone of Jonnys’ voice, while the guitar and drums were barely played. “I, I left you to sway. It’s a shame we had to go this far, it’s a shame we had to go at all…” Jonny sang, getting the short minute and a half long song underway. As it approached the end, the guitar notes grew louder, and as Dan laid off the keys, Mark and Paul tore into their original, “Bullets And Blue Eyes”. It was fantastic getting to hear that one again, seeing as it was absent the last couple of shows of theirs I saw, and the same can be said for “Love?”, which followed it. Jonny said a few things to the crowd, then said he was going to give the mic to Dan, who he thought had something to say. He really didn’t at that time, though hinted at the next song. He was messing with his bass, and when he was done, he started with his introduction to “Fat Kid”, “Four score and seven meals ago…”, which ends with something like, “… I had a dream where beef is always what’s for dinner.” They breezed through the shorter song and had everyone singing along loudly to it, and that brought them to the final song of their 62 minute long set and another fan favorite, “Salem”. Their antics continued at the tail end of the tune, for the all percussion solo, which requires Dan holding a tom on each shoulder, while Jonny and Mark made continuous little circles, one beating on the toms, the other Jonnys’ drum kit, and vice versa. They then got some audience participation, on the final chorus, having the crowd shout along to, “BURN THE WITCH! HAHAHA!”

I think this was the best performance I’ve seen them do since the last time they played Andy’s a few months back. It was a high-energy, rip-roaring performance, and the little surprises they had to switch it up only made it more enjoyable. These guys never disappoint, but they were certainly on the top of their game this night.

They have only a couple shows booked at the moment, one will be September 21st at the Scout Bar in Houston, TX. The other is set for October 12th at Fitzgerald’s in San Antonio. And don’t forget, you can check out their album, “The Few Not Fleeting”, while you await the release of their next record.

It was a fantastic night, and hanging out with great people only made it better.

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 – The Sunset Wasteland Tour

After a years long absence from the city of Denton, Noting More was coming back through for the second straight month, this time stopping at Hailey’s. They also brought with them some friends from Los Angeles who they had been on a little tour with, the band, Bravo Delta.

Red Light Kills kicked the show off at nearly 10 o’ clock, and from what I heard, they sounded good, though I didn’t catch any of their set. Instead, I was hanging and talking with Matt “WhiskeyBoy” and Torch. And that was probably the simplest review I’ve written in a LONG time.

The rock show really got underway when Admiral Grey took the stage, beginning their 38 minute long set with a song that I believe is called, “The Ride”. As the song started, Krishen Loughridge began rocking out on his guitar, moving all about the little area he had on stage right. At one point during the song, bassist, Geneva Arena, seemingly slid across the stage, joining him, as the two briefly stood (somewhat) back to back, each tearing it up on their respective instruments. They followed it with one of their tightest rock songs, “Pulling Strings”, and then a song that singer and rhythm guitarist, Aaron Pose, said was what he felt was the beginning of this new “baby” of his, “Don’t Know Me at All”. As he said the last time I saw them, the song is more or less about wanting to prove to friends that they are wrong about you, and has the great line, “…So keep your money and your phony friends, and I’ll be myself into the bitter end. We’re only human, we all make mistakes…”. At this point, a girl shouted out to one of the band members, “Take your shirt off!”. Aaron looked back at drummer, Justin Labosco, telling him if he wanted to he could. “…We’re three songs in…” he said, adding that the apparent rule is you can’t take your shirt off anytime during the first three songs, only after. Justin set the beat for the next song, as they slowed things down a bit with “My World”, and afterwards Aaron said they had a cover song, and asked if anyone here listened to the Top 40. Someone yelled, “FREEBIRD!”, to which Aaron responded, “That was Top forty about forty years ago, man.” He noted that if anyone listened to it, or watched the Grammy’s, they had probably heard this song a lot. “This is called Set Fire to the Rain, by Adele.” he announced. It started off slow, with Krishen plucking at the guitars strings with his fingers, but it doesn’t take long for the song to really get going. To me this is one of the last songs I would’ve thought a band like this would cover, but they do an incredible job on it, and this night, I honestly thought it was the best song of their set. In setting up the next song, Aaron mentioned their show last week at Trees in Dallas, where they had, had some live video shot of this newer song, which he added had turned out pretty good. He then asked if there was anyone there who just didn’t “give a fuck”, saying their next song was called “I Don’t Care”, and that was exactly what it was about. “Just a Man” came next, which I would consider to be the bands anthem song, and then they ended things with “Dirty Red”.

It was an incredible set they put on, and just from the last few shows I’ve seen, I’d say Admiral Grey is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands here in the region. I say region since they are from Texas and Oklahoma. To use their little tagline from their Facebook page, “Real, Loud, Rock…” That’s as good a description as any, and that’s exactly what the band is.

They should be releasing their debut EP in the coming months, but until then they’ll be laying low, gearing up for that. So, head over to their REVERBNATION PAGE, get a free download of their song “Dead to Me”, and check back to see when they will have more tour dates.

Bravo Delta was up next, and sadly didn’t have nearly the audience that they deserved. And to everyone who didn’t stick around to see what they were like, it was your loss. They opened with a song from their “Sunset Wasteland” EP, “Loose Cannon”. Singer and rhythm guitarist, Brandon Davis, jumped around the stage during the intro for the song, approaching the mic when it was time for him to sing. For whatever reason, I really like the chorus of this song, “Said I got your disease, I think I need some release. They should have never let you out into the world.”, which Brandon adds almost a light growl to as he sings it, before screaming it on the final time. When it was over, he stated who they were to the handful of people who had gathered around the stage. “This next song is called The Product” he finished, as they got it going. I really like part of the chorus from this song, too, “…This I know, I am a product of the lack of your design…”. They slowed things down a little with “Already Gone”, and then got into some songs not from their EP, as drummer, Scott Decker wound that one right into one called “We Stand, We Fall”. They quickly continued on by cranking out “Who Knew” and “Either One”, as their time was limited, and they finished that song, they found out they had about ten minutes left, with three more songs planned. Their only option was to power through them, next doing a song titled, “Moonchild”, which Andy Ingraham finished with a great guitar outro/solo. He did more or less the same at the end of the next song, “Sleepwalker”, too, though I think this was the song where he began to shred on the fret board, doing an incredible solo and giving it some really out there sounds. Their time was almost up, but they had just enough left to wrap things up with one more song from their debut EP, “Not Enough”, which made their set clock in at 35 minutes.

While I had listened to their stuff and liked it, I still wondered how their live show would be, and it was just as good as their tunes, as they killed it. Brandon seemed to me to be the most energetic performer of the bunch, just in the fact that he did the most moving around, and when all he was focusing on was his guitar, you could tell he was a pretty good guitarist. Andy could really shred, and as for bassist, Ryan Flores, he was a little more calm, mainly more leaning against the monitors, but still had enough presence as he slapped away at his bass that he was entertaining to watch.

You can go HERE to get a free download of their song, “Not Enough”, and purchase their EP, “Sunset Wasteland”, on either iTunes or BANDCAMP.

Nothing More
got their gear setup pretty quick, did a little sound check, and then made their fans wait a little more… But not too long, as it went unnoticed by me that  Paul O’Brien and Mark Vollelunga, the drummer and guitarist, respectively, had taken the stage, only realizing it once they started playing an instrumental piece. Bassist, Daniel Oliver, soon joined them, and finally vocalist and additional percussionist, Jonny Hawkins, who banged away at his three-piece drum kit. As the beats resonated out and fell silent, they began the first song of their 44 minute long set, “Gone”. The crowd wasn’t nearly as large as their Denton show the past month, but the energy from the crowd was just as high, if not more so, as almost everyone cut loose and sang along to the song. They followed it up with the instrumental song, “Under The Eyes of Selene”, which is essentially the intro of “Sixty Second Affair”. Towards the end of the song, most of the band was singing, with Jonny of course doing the main part of the song, while Dan shouted, “I feel, I feel.”, as Mark added some different backing vocals to it, which gave it a neat, layered sound. And as it ended, Jonny picked up his pair of drum sticks and proceeded to pound away on his kit. They then went into a string of new songs, with “First Punch” being the first of them, and after another one, Jonny went over a grabbed a metal rod that fits into a slot of the metal case that surrounds his drum kit, as Dan removed his bass and placed it on the hooked rod. As he stood to the (stage) right of it and held down some strings, Jonny played it with the drum sticks, and as it neared the end, Mark came and joined them, holding down some of the strings along the neck. They soon got back into the songs with another new tune, which, out of the handful of times I’ve heard it, is becoming one of my favorites of their new stuff, with the chorus going, “…If I were God just for a day, I would be guilty of letting the whole world slip away…”. Somewhere around this point, Jonny thanked everyone for continuing to come out to shows. “…I know this record has been out for awhile…” he noted, speaking of the over three year old, “The Few Not Fleeting”. They did another song off that album, “It Seems…”, and after the second chorus, started the newest addition of the song, the chorus of “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. “This is another new song…” Jonny said afterwards, “…It’s called Ballast.”, he finished, as the sample track intro began. Mark started shredding on his guitar at the precise moment the track faded out, as Paul exploded on the drums and Dan thrashed his bass around, while Jonny sang, “When did we become these sinking stones? When did we build this broken home? Holding each other like ransom notes. Dropping our hearts to grip our brothers throats…” When it was finished, Jonny asked the crowd what they wanted to hear next, and while a few different titles were thrown out, he acknowledged one in particular. “I think I heard Fat Kid.” he said, as they geared up for the song. “Speech or no speech?” Dan asked him, before saying this next song was for anyone who was a “…Chubby kid… Or chubby people…” now. He then started his speech his speech set up for the song, about how “…Four score and seven meals ago…” he was chunkier, and as he said the final line of it, “…I had a dream, where beef is always what’s for dinner!”, Jonny began singing, “Once upon a time, I survived by eating my way through life. Bruised from head to toe to ego, this abuse is getting old …” This was another song that had a heavier percussion outro, as Jonny again rocked out on his kit, and then it was time for the final song of their set, “Salem”. It amazes me the way fans have taken to the song, because shortly after the release of their current record, I don’t recall anyone (at least here in the North Texas area) being as obsessed with it as they are now. Now, everyone sings along to it, and the fans even handle an entire part of the chorus, “…Burn the witch! HA HA HA!”, while at the very end, Jonny yells out, “BURN!”, then holds the mic out to the crowd to do the same, and continues doing so for several seconds.

When they were done, a few people started chanting for an encore, though it didn’t look like they had any plans of coming back, and that group of fans didn’t carry on for long. Nevertheless, it was a great set.

Their show schedule is as follows: July 7th at Warehouse Live in Houston, TX. July 14th at Click’s Billiards in Baton Rouge, LA. July 27th at Luna Live in Lake Charles, LA. July 28th at The Riverside Warehouse in Shreveport, LA. August 4th at Sam’s Burger Joint in San Antonio, TX. August 18th at the Side Pocket Lounge in Kilgore, TX. And August 23rd at Stubbs BBQ in Austin, TX. So, go check them out if they’ll be near you, and also find their record, “The Few Not Fleeting” in iTunes.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 – Moving Atlas

Tonight, Trees was hosting what will probably be one of the best local shows of this entire year. Indeed, the lineup was astounding, featuring some great local Dallas bands and then a little ol’ band from San Antonio who I recently declared the best currently active band in all of Texas. I’d actually been looking forward to this one for over a month, and was thrilled that the day for it had finally arrived.

Signs of Reason was already rocking when I got there, finishing up “Adjust to Change”, but I don’t believe I had missed much of their set. They followed it with a bunch of other great songs, and I believe it was the song they did afterwards that I liked the most, “Where Rockstars Go to Die”. It quickly became apparent that the band has more of a mainstream sound to their music, at least in the fact that their originals are very radio friendly sounding, which helped them pull off a cover that they did. “If you haven’t heard this song, then you’ve been living under a fucking rock…”, vocalist, Garrett Gale, told the crowd. I figured I’d be one of those people who had been living under a rock, but I actually knew the song… But for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now, it did sound very true to form, though. I really don’t know what else they played, since I’m not familiar with their music, but at one point they did “The Thief”, where Garrett called attention to guitarist, Brandon Goforth, who took off on a rip-roaring guitar solo. They saved one of their best songs, “Only Human”, for next to last, which saw Michael Johnson pounding out some powerful beats on the drums. Then, during their final song, Garrett took time to name all the band members, which also included their other guitarist, Chris Cole, as well as their bassist, who Garrett mentioned was a very new addition to the band.

Again, their music does a mainstream feel to it, but they pull it off well, and don’t sound nearly as generic as most actual mainstream acts do. It was a really good set and they had a good sound, though there were a few times where I thought Garrett’s voice fell flat. It was nothing terrible, like, not enough to be detrimental to them or their performance in anyway, but still, I did kind of hear it.

They’re a good band, though, and seem to be on the rise, which is really something considering they haven’t been around for too long. If you want to check out our purchase their record, you can buy all 5 tracks (in mp3 format) from their REVERBNATION STORE.

Redefine was up next, doing their first show in a little over two months, when their previous drummer decided it was time to leave the band. They found a replacement quickly, though, making their set tonight the live debut of their new drummer, Jaron Davis.

They got their 35 minute long set going with “Take Your Medicine”, which reminded me immediately of why I love Redefine shows. They came out of the gates strong, as lead guitarist, Chris Apaliski, dashed around the stage, jumped up on and then off of the drum riser, and so on. Bassist, Mike Diquinzio, was more or less doing the same, as was fellow guitarist, Ryan Maynard, and it’s these high-energy shows that make Redefine so enjoyable. The song that followed it was new to me, or if I have heard it live it’s been long enough ago that I’ve forgot. It was pretty intense, even for these guys, and had Scott Headstream screaming into the mic for the majority of it. It sounded killer, though, and I like the direction they went in with that tune. Scott announced the next, as Maynard started them into the heavy hitter from their latest EP, “Motorcade”. They next did another song from “Blur On the Horizon”, as the music began to build before Scott sang, “Oh, don’t you go waving your battle flag…”, the first line of “Arcana”. They next ripped into “The Silent Hum”, which may well be the best song they do live, and after it was done, Scott lightened the mood with a joke. I believe it began with him promoting their websites, then added something like, “…We have a sex tape… We’re all in it…”, then said that if people wanted to watch it, just search for Redefine. That was a segue into their next song, “Like a Vision, a Ghost”, which, if memory serves me right, they started a bit differently, with the intro even more minimal than it already is, as Scott sang, “I need to hear whisper, because I’m tired of scream. It’s her lips I remember when I see the scars from her teeth…”. Up to this point, the show had been fantastic, with the exception that I found it hard to hear Scott’s vocals. They were audible, but not too loud, but I didn’t think a whole lot about it, thinking it was probably the fact that I wear earplugs. But after that song, someone else in the crowd asked me if I could hear his singing okay, saying he couldn’t. It was apparently quite enough in the building that Scott overheard this and asked the sound guy for more of his vocals, and man, did it ever make a difference. You could hear him much stronger on “Fall Down, I Believe It”, during which he pulled out the trusty Redefine megaphone, using it for a line from the second verse, “…Wake up, you’re falling anyway…”. Sadly, once it was done, they were on their final song of the night, but brought the show to an amazing close with “Leave The Light On”.

It was a very impressive set they did, and I would say one of the best Redefine shows I’ve seen. At one point during their show, Scott remarked at how hard they had been working Jaron to make sure he knew the material, and their hard work from the practice space was definitely noticeable. He looked like he had been playing these songs for years, and meshed perfectly with the live show these guys put on.

Their next show on tap is slated for July 13th at The Curtain Club in Dallas. They will also be performing the Broadcasting for Boobies benefit on August 4th at The Ranch in Arlington, which will be sponsored by RYA Entertainment/WhiskeyBoy Radio. And you if you don’t own them already, be sure to check out their EPs, “Blur On the Horizon” and “The Power Of Persuasion”, in iTunes.

The crowd had been pretty small thus far, which was sad considering some killer talent had already graced the stage. It didn’t seem like it would improve, either, but as the San Antonio based Nothing More got ready to begin I looked back to the bar (I stood right up front, near the stage) and there didn’t seem to be an empty space in the whole venue. These people had missed out greatly, but they at least knew to make it there in time to witness Rock ‘n’ Roll perfection.

Drummer, Paul O’brien, strode on stage and back behind the kit, while Mark Vollelunga followed suit, taking stage right and grabbing his guitar. Once Daniel Oliver joined them on bass they began to rock out, but the show got into full swing when vocalist, Jonny Hawkins, rushed on stage and started pounding away on his three piece drum kit at the front of the stage. The excitement in the air was palpable, and their 43 minute set really took off as they rounded that instrumental greatness into “Gone”. The emotion put into this song is unbelievable, especially on the second verse as Jonny cries, “…I wish I’d never seen cancer, I’d die just to find that answer…” (for those not in the know, the song is about his mother’s battle with cancer, which she ultimately lost.) As the song wrapped up, you could hear some sample backing tracks echoing in the background. It repeated part of the chorus, “I’m gone.”, over and over, and as it faded out, they segued it into “Under The Eyes of Selene”. Mark slayed on this brief instrumental song, shredding on his guitar and thrashing around, as they brought it into “Sixty Second Affair”. Jonny’s one to do various little things to alter his voice, such as on this one, where towards the end he waved the mic around wildly as he made a noise, creating an awesome, natural sound effect. They brought on an onslaught of rock, and wound that one right into the first of two new songs, “First Punch”. The song maybe new, but the fans were quickly picking up on the chorus for it (as well as the other new ones) and singing along, like on this one, “…I’ll throw the first punch, ‘cause I’ve kept my mouth shut for far too long…” Afterwards, they brought that one into what I think is one of the most standout newer songs of theirs, mainly because I really like the chorus, which Dan and Mark also chime in on, “…I’ll keep sucking, sucking, sucking you dry until you realize you are no J-J-J-Jesus Christ…”. Mark and Paul kept the music going, while Jonny went over and picked up a rod/stand for their little trick that will leave you floored if you’ve never experienced a live Nothing More show. As he fit the rod/stand into a slot on his drum kit, Dan then placed his bass in it, holding down the strings as Jonny beat away at them with his pair of drum sticks, with Mark joining in at the tail end of it, as he held down various strings on the fret board. That never ceases to be a crowd pleaser, and out of all the times I’ve seen them do it, it has yet to get old (and I don’t think it ever will). I thought they might finally take a pause after that, but no, they whirled that right into another new tune of theirs. I don’t think they did it at their Denton gig last month, but I’m pretty certain I’ve heard this one before, with its chorus being, “…If I were God, just for a day, I’d be guilty of letting the whole world slip away…”. As it ended Jonny acknowledged that they had been focusing a lot on new stuff, “…So where gonna do an old one for you…”. I don’t think it was one that anyone expected to hear (myself included). It was the final tune from the “Few Not Fleeting” album, “It Seems…”, which they’re making into a powerhouse of a live song. And the few lines of The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” that they’ve started adding to it, “…Look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from…”, does a lot for it, and definitely fits with the mood the song establishes, for example, “…He said he wants to die. He wonders how anyone survives being overlooked and trite…”. They had saved some of the best for last, once again bridging the songs together, this time as the sample intro for “Ballast” kicked in, before Paul, Dan and Mark tore into it. This is one of the heaviest, most intense things I’ve heard these guys do, and even though the song is only available to listen to via a few of their pages (Youtube, Reverbnation, etc.), there were plenty of people singing along to every single word. Their show finally came to a halt after it, but only so they could discuss what to do next, seeing as they were informed they only had time for one more song. “Do y’all want to hear one more or two more?” Jonny asked the crowd, which was a bit of a stupid question, as two was the obvious answer from the packed venue. But at least the sound guy allowed them two more, otherwise there might have been some very upset people in Trees, since their last two are staples. Dan began his glorious speech that mimics the “I Have a Dream” speech, only this is about him growing up being chunky. As he closed it with “…Most of all, Dallas, I had a dream where beef was what’s for dinner every night!”, they fired up “Fat Kid”, and then to cap off the show, rocked out “Salem”. That last one had every single person yelling along to it, especially at the end when Jonny held the mic out towards the fans as they all shouted, “Burn!”, and rotated with Dan and Mark shouting it into their mics next, followed by the crowd and so on and so forth. But the highlight of the song was when they took their percussion break, where Jonny proceeded to bash away on his kit, while Mark and Dan each grabbed a tom and walked behind him. He made the rounds, hitting his kit and the toms, before Mark handed his off to Dan, picked up a pair of drum sticks, and he and Jonny did little circles, hitting either the kit or toms, whichever was in front of them at the time. Their stunts like that add such an eye-popping, jaw dropping element to their shows, and make them just that, shows.

As I said, it had barely been a month since I saw them up in Denton, and while I liked the longer set they got that night, there was one thing that made this a much better show, and it was the fact that they were relentless, moving from song to song.

Starting June 15th they will be on tour with Bravo Delta and perform in the following cities: San Diego, CA on June 15th at Brick by Brick, Hollywood, CA on June 16th at Amplyfi, Tempe, Arizona on June 20th at Tempe Tavern, Albuquerque, NM on June 21st at Warehouse 508, Denton, TX on June 22nd at Hailey’s, and June 23rd in Tulsa, OK at The Eclipse. On June 24th you can see them at Whiskey Chicks Parlor in Oklahoma City, OK. For the month of July, they will be in Baton Rouge, LA on the 14th at Click’s Billiards and then the Riverside Warehouse in Shreveport, LA on the 27th.  Then they have a hometown show at Sam’s Burger Joint on August 4th in San Antonio.

I just want to say I can’t wait for that Denton show, which they will be headlining, so you can expect them to pull out all the stops… At least I hope they will, ‘cause I might cry if they don’t do “Bullets and Blue Eyes”. And while you wait on the release of their new album due out sometime this year (hopefully), check out “The Few Not Fleeting”, which should satisfy your ears for awhile.

After a performance like that, I wondered if Moving Atlas could even follow them, and I was relieved to learn I wasn’t the only person who had those thoughts. But any reservations I did have quickly faded once they took the stage.

Before the curtain was drawn open, they began “Machina”, and once it was the four instrumentalists were in the midst of the song, but one member was missing. As guitarists, Ricky Dansby and Ben Scott, bassist, Geoff Lucke, and drummer, Ross Rubio, cranked out the song, Dunagin Gaines suddenly walked out from behind a silk screen on stage left, there were two on either side of the drum riser, each being a portion of their latest album cover. He approached the mic, and crooned, “Wherever you go, you will seek and find a friend. You will climb atop this home, and scream into the wind…” The mood that song sets for the rest of the show is incredible, as they’re announcing they’re here to rock, but, as I’ve said in the past, the song just has an underlying element/sound to it that makes it rather ominous. They got into some brash Rock ‘n’ Roll next, though, and after a pause just long enough for the fans who had packed the venue to applaud them, Ross launched them into “Welcome Home”. As they got to the bridge you heard their sample track/vocals in the background. “Don’t stop, don’t stop…” it went, with Dunagin quickly flipping the mic up after that and singing, “…Don’t stop with an inch to burn. The candle wick is thick you’ve learned…”. The icy sounding “Crawl Out in the Cold” came next, but after it was when then so far routine set got very interesting. Geoff said something like, “If y’all want to sing along with this next song y’all can.” and then Dunagin chimed in, “Yeah! Do y’all want to do that? If y’all know this next one y’all want to sing along with it?” The anticipation of what was to come built as they allowed a few moments of silence. Dunagin began to kneel down on the stage floor, and as he did so, he let out a line that I think everyone in Trees was hoping to hear. “Don’t want to contemplate the time…” he sang, with a bit of ferocity. I don’t know how long it’s been out of the setlist, and it’s been the song I’ve wanted to hear the most the last two times I’ve seen these guys, and tonight, they finally resurrected the title track of their 2008 EP, “Elephant Gun”. I believe it was when they exploded into the chorus from the bridge that Geoff, who had worked his way onto their box in front of the drum riser, leapt from it, right as Dunagin shouted out, “…You will bow…”. Once it was finished Geoff stated that was from their older EP, “…I think there may be a few copies back there for sale. I don’t know.” he said. “You lie!” Ricky shouted at him in a joking manner as he tuned his guitar. Geoff then added, “We’re gonna do some old stuff for you tonight. Real old.” Ross got them going on the song, and seeing the way he owned the drum kit for this solo of sorts was something else and definitely mind-blowing. The song was the oldest they pulled out this night, “Cheating Mark”, from “Et Al”, and live, it was one of the best songs of their set. They talked to the crowd for a minute after that song, but as they did, you could hear Ben playing his guitar. It was pretty light at first, but it grew louder, enough so that you knew it was “How We’re Infected” before they announced it. “Will the queens hold the scepters when the kings are all gone?… Nearly all of our wanting reeks of entitled air. And we all feel so numb that we hardly even care…” sang Dunagin as the song got started. He let out his final line while standing on that box in front of the drums, then tossed it to the floor at the front of the stage as the other guys finished out the song. But when the mic landed, it made an awful sound, and as the tune concluded Dunagin walked over to it, looked at it, then acted as if it were a wrestling opponent and he was about to jump on it, striking it with his elbow. He of course didn’t, and after checking it, it still worked perfectly. “We’re gonna slow things down a bit.” Geoff said, as they proceeded to play “Red Shelter”. Dunagin added some hand motions at the end, first striking his hands as if he was knocking over some buildings on the line “…I tore your tower down…” Then moved his hand lower towards the stage, “Invited you underground to compare skies…”, before looking up at the ceiling and finishing the song, “…We’ll meet you in red shelter, we’ll count our losses together.” Things picked back up, and swiftly, with “Muse Accuser”, and afterwards Dunagin went on what seemed like an odd tangent about Richard Branson. He said something along the lines of, “…He’s gonna take people to the fucking moon. Not space, the moon!…” I wondered where he was going with that, and then he stated what the next song was, and that it, “5280”, was about all of that. As Ricky was shredding on his guitar, Dunagin jumped back close to him, and, mirroring him in a way, started tearing it up on an air guitar. He did something similar at the end of it, only this time he licked one of his fingers and began to slap an imaginary bass. They went right in to setting up their next tune, as Dunagin asked what year it was. “Is this the year of the Rabbit?” No, that didn’t sound right. “…Is it the Year of the Rat?” That sounded more like it, and served as a nice segue into what is possible their grittiest song. After it, the fans seemed like they were only warmed up, as several different song titles were hurled at the band. “No, how about we do Parachute?” Dunagin said. That seemed to satisfy everyone, but there seemed to be one question that remained after they finished it; was that the end or not?

Indeed it was, and while several people waited around after they said they were through, there was no encore. Not that, that was a disappointment, because they had left everything on the stage in the 52 minutes they were up there. And the difference between this and when I saw them in Denton last month was night and day, proving that this band best excels when they have a stage big enough for them to roam around on. With their live shows, they’re very precise with everything, almost tactical in a way, yet they still manage to give it that raw feeling that a live show should have.

To find out for yourself what I’m talking about, go see them on July 13th at the Curtain Club in Dallas, and check out their records in iTunes, “Machina”, “Red Shelter”, “Elephant Gun”, and “Et Al”.

Thus ended this night of rock, and a spectacular night at that.


NOTE: Some amazingly talented individuals and myself have partnered up to create RYA Entertainment. We give you all the benefits of working with a major label (booking and promotional experience, industry connections, strength in numbers) without the hassles and cost associated with signing to a label. If your band would be interested in working with us in any of those aspects or performing at a future show of ours, contact me at: TheRealMusicEnthusiast@GMAIL.COM


A note to whom it may interest: I’m wanting to get advertisers on my blog. If you are a band, music venue, or have any type of product or business whatsoever you want to promote, e-mail me at: for full info. I will tell you now though, I get good traffic on my site and my prices will be VERY, VERY affordable to even the most broke bands/people. So please, allow me to help promote YOUR product constantly, and not just when I do a show review. Venues, I can list all your upcoming shows as I do for the Granada Theater. Bands, I can put up an image of your album cover and link that to iTunes, etc. Let me know if you would be interested in getting in on this exciting opportunity!

Friday, May 4th, 2012 – Nothing More Returns to Denton

The WK Entertainment Group had put together a VERY impressive line-up of bands at Andy’s Bar in Denton this night. There was no doubt that it would be a memorable night, but making it even more epic was the fact that Matt Blake of WhiskeyBoy Radio and Katie Boyd from Sawed Off Productions were there. With all three of us, that meant RYA Entertainment was out supporting in full-force, and Matt had even picked up our RYA shirts earlier that day.

Indeed, greatness would transpire this night, and beginning it was Paco Estrada. He had a full band for this show, and joining him and his drummer was a couple of the guys from Nothing More, Mark Vollelunga and Daniel Oliver, on guitar and bass, respectively. It’s been some time since Paco last had a full band like this backing him, so it was bound to be interesting. The set was rather short, only consisting of five songs, as they opened with “Haunting Me”, and in typical Paco fashion he tacked on part of a cover tune to the tail end of the song. They followed it with another song best known from Paco’s last band, One Love, “This is Life”, and afterwards go into some of his newer material. The beautiful love song, “When We Were Made”, came next, and then they slowed things down with “Spark”, both from the “The Definite and Indefinite…” record. Paco removed his acoustic guitar for the final song of his 31 minute long set, “Breaking Down”, which also had a portion of a cover song added to the end of it.

It was a really good set, and Dan and Mark helped add a few layers that Paco’s music has been missing for a little while, and the fuller sound did make a difference. I wish he had gotten a little bit more time though, because you can’t really get the full greatness of his music in just five songs. Oh well, hopefully the next time I see one of his shows he’ll have more time.

Speaking of shows, his calendar as is follows: May 26th at The Prophet Bar in Dallas. June 1st at Jack’s Bar in San Antonio. June 2nd at Darwin’s Pub in Austin. June 16th at Sue Ellen’s in Dallas. Also, be sure to visit his BANDCAMP PAGE to listen to/purchase all of his music.

Not too long after Paco’s set we (Matt, Katie, “Otter”, of the band Night Gallery, and myself) ventured down to the basement area of Andy’s and chatted (and laughed) for a bit. If memory serves me correctly conversation turned to, “Wouldn’t it be funny…” if while you were being intimate with a girl (I’ll class that up a little over what was actually said) you tell her, “…Oh, I have herpes. But don’t worry, it went away not long after I got it, so you should be okay…”

Interesting conversations to say the least, and soon we went back upstairs to see the next band…

Admiral Grey
was already rocking out and had a nice crowd paying attention, but during this song we walked in on, I was having trouble hearing Aaron Pose’s singing. The song sounded great, and they were owning it, but I couldn’t understand anything he was saying. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one, and when they finished it a guy could be heard yelling, “MORE VOCALS!” The sound guy listened. Aaron mentioned this was a newer project of his and also plugged the next song as one that would be on their EP that will be out in the next few months. “…This one is called Love Suicide, or Pulling Strings.” he said. You could hear him perfectly now, and they killed it with that song, as well as the next one, “Don’t Know Me at All”. They followed it with a couple more songs, as Krishen Loughridge continued shredding on his guitar over on stage right and bassist, Geneva Arena, was really rocking out, too. Justin Labosco began a little drum solo, serving as a lead in to the next song, while Aaron asked, “How many hard working men to we have out here tonight?” He didn’t get the desired response, so he tried it again, with more people shouting out this time, as they launched into “Just a Man”. They were already at the end of their set now, doing what Aaron said was “…One we like to end with…”, called “Dirty Red”. “…It’s my take on the Little Red Riding Hood story…” I’m probably slightly paraphrasing this, but he said something like he thought she was a slut. I can’t say I’ve ever heard that take on the story, but the song was fantastic.

It’s been quite a few months since Admiral Grey did their first show here in the area and it was good to finally make it to another one. The stage at Andy’s is on the smaller side, so the amount of space they had to move around was restricted. But while their movements were a bit more limited, they more than made up for it with their presence, and they have tightened up even more than what they were when I first saw them. They’re really a great band, and I can’t wait to hear this EP they have in the works. Speaking of which, you can find a few of those songs on their REVERBNATION PAGE, and even get a free download of “Dead to Me”. Admiral Grey’s next show will be on June 16th at Trees in Dallas where they will be opening for Miser and Forty Percent, both of whom are doing reunion shows.

Next up was one of the main courses of the night, Moving Atlas. I was beyond excited for this, because the show they did about a month before this was the first time I’d seen them where I was a true fan, but I felt like I was dying from strep throat and didn’t get to fully enjoy it. And I must say, being right up front for these guys is much better than sitting on a barstool in the back of the club. They got everything set up and vocalist, Dunagin Gaines, told the sound guy they were ready to start, as the music began and then swelled into the title track of their latest EP, “Machina”. Again, being down in front of the stage made this the true experience a Moving Atlas show is, especially as Matt and I yelled the lyrics at each other, “…Behold, I send you out as sheep among the wolves…”. During that song, Dunagin also shows off his chops as a frontman, as on the chorus he sings “…Like a god…”, steps back from the mic, singing it again, in a sense adding his own backing vocals, before getting right back in front of the mic, “…you can challenge it all…”. They took a brief pause after that song before drummer, Ross Rubio, got the next one going, “Welcome Home”. Both of those are easily some of the best, hardest hitting songs Moving Atlas has done, the lyrics for both are brilliant, and kicking a show off with both them back-to-back makes for a killer dose of Rock ‘N’ Roll. They did one more song from the EP, “Crawl out in the Cold”, which grows one me each time I hear it, and then did an older song, I assume from “Et Al”. “That old stuff’s pretty good isn’t it?” Dunagin said of what was definitely one of their best songs of the night, and saw both guitarist, Ricky Dansby, and bassist, Geoff Lucke, really rocking out. Before their next song, Dunagin had a question. “How many feet are in a mile?” “WhiskeyBoy” had the answer, shouting out, “Fifty-two eighty!” “That’s right…” Dunagin said, as that led them to another intense rock number, “5280”. “Red Shelter” came next, and the music bed for this song does a wonderful job of capturing a end of the world vibe (“…The power to build a bomb just to eradicate what matters…”). They started to wind their 39 minute set down with their longest song, the epic, “Muse Accuser”, and then Dunagin asked if anyone wanted to “Parachute”. The crowd wanted to, and that was what capped off their show.

I mentioned that space was tight for the previous band, well, it was even less spacious with five guys on stage. In fact, guitarist, Ben Scott, was over on stage right, almost completely out of my line of sight. They still moved about as much as possible, though, with Dunagin and Geoff occasionally switching spots so you could better see his bass skills, and during the instrumental portion of their next to last song Dunagin sit down on the stage, allowing for a better view of everybody else.

I said it the last time I saw these guys and I’ll say it again, they are some of the most professional musicians around, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a band who puts on as tight of a show as Moving Atlas. Their next gig will be Saturday, June 2nd at Trees in Dallas, where they will headline, so you know it’ll be great. And check out all their records in iTunes, “Machina”, “Red Shelter”, “Elephant Gun” and “Et Al”.

In most cases, putting Moving Atlas on as a main support band would be a pretty crazy decision, if for no other reason than because most bands can’t top what they bring. But it just so happened one of those handful of bands was up next.

It’s been probably close to two years since the last time the San Antonio based band Nothing More had played Denton. They used to be regulars at another club here, and since they almost never played Dallas, making that hour long drive was the only way I got to see them. And then they quit playing North Texas all together… At least until early this year. So needless to say, this event had been a long time coming, and as they got ready to play, the crowd packed in as tightly as possible around the stage.

Drummer, Paul O’Brien, bassist, Daniel Oliver, and guitarist, Mark Vollelunga, got on stage first, and began with a rocking instrumental piece. All of a sudden, vocalist, Jonny Hawkins, hopped on stage and started pounding away on his drum set, consisting of a bass drum, tom and snare. The still fairly new iron “stand” (I use that for lack of a better word) that they’ve built to hold those drums looks so killer, and after a few seconds Jonny jumped up on part of it, towering over the audience. The music then subsided, and Jonny began the opening part of their first song, with the instruments coming back to life moments later. It had been a long time since I heard them open a show with “Gone”, and it seemed to be exactly what this crowd wanted to hear, as they tore through the emotionally charged song. I believe Jonny stated how good it was to be back in Denton when they finished that song, while the other guys went right on into the next song, as Mark broke out into his blistering guitar solo for the instrumental song, “Under The Eyes of Selene”, which of course was wound into “Sixty Second Affair”. They weren’t holding back at all, and went straight into their next song, a new one, that Jonny said was called “First Punch”. “Do y’all want to hear another new one?” asked Jonny afterwards. It was a definite yes to that, as they did my favorite new song of theirs… or at least my favorite out of what few songs I’ve heard. The song is fantastic, especially on the chorus, part of which I believe goes, “…I’ll keep sucking, sucking, sucking you dry until you realize you’re no J-J-J Jesus Christ.” To follow that up, Jonny grabbed an iron rod and placed it in a slot on his drum kit, swinging it around so it faced the crowd. Dan took his bass off and placed it on that hooked rod, holding down some of the strings while Jonny tapped the strings with a pair of drumsticks, and towards the end Mark got in on the action, holding down a few of the strings along the fret board. That is really one of the coolest, most unique things I’ve ever seen a band do, and with just a few rather simple modifications they managed to elevate it to a whole new level. As they got back to their spots on stage, you could faintly hear the sample track for the next song, growing louder and louder before exploding into “The Cleansing”. They had one final new one for this show, going into the harder, edgier, “Ballast”. For part of this song, Jonny pushes his voice to a whole new place from any other NoMo song, especially during the first verse, in particular on the lines “…When did we build this broken home…” and “…Dropping our hearts to grip our brother’s throat…”, where he digs into a deeper, somewhat throaty scream. The song gives you a true adrenalin rush, and will no doubt become one of the bands classics. Speaking of classics, an older fan favorite came next, “Love?”. That one had everyone singing along, but it wasn’t until the end when you could actually hear the fans singing the final chorus, “…I’ll sing it till the stars fall down, I’ll sing it till my lungs dry out. I could sing it all night long, but you never listened when I sang this song…”. Once that was over, Jonny passed things off to Dan, saying he had something to say. “…Four score and seven meals ago…” he started, going into his hilarious speech, serving as a segue into “Fat Kid”, a song that got people very excited. They then rocked out the “The Few Not Fleeting”, and then a song you wouldn’t expect to hear live, “It Seems…”. The song is one of my favorites and was a highlight for me during their acoustic show down in San Antonio last August, and while it becomes a powerful little number, it still lacks the punch their other material does, making this a rare treat in my opinion. Towards the end, before doing the chorus again, they changed it up as Jonny began singing part of The Beatles song, “Elanor Rigby”. “Look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from?…” he sang a few times before finishing out the song. They then announced that their time was almost up, wrapping things up with “Salem”. About halfway through Dan laid his bass down, grabbing a tom and raised it up to his left shoulder, while Mark brought him one for his right arm. Dan stood in front of the full drum kit as Jonny and Mark began making loops, with one getting a few beats in on the drums Dan held, while the other played the partial kit, repeating it a few times. That little stunt is something else that sets Nothing More apart from other bands, and even though you know they’re going to do it, it still never ceases to amaze. When that was done Dan put the toms down as they returned to their stations, finishing out the song and calling it a night.

An encore seemed inevitable, but as soon as they walked off the stage the chants for one more could be heard. I guess that means Denton had been deprived of Nothing More for far too long. Dan, Mark and Paul soon returned, with Jonny not far behind as they did “Waiting On Rain”, which seemed like it would probably conclude their set. “I think we have one more.” Said Jonny as he looked at his band mates, like he was making sure they were down for that. This was what I had been waiting all night for, seeing as they had moved my favorite song of theirs from the opening tune. They ripped into an instrumental piece, and before you knew it Mark was shredding away at the begging of “Bullets And Blue Eyes”, which put an end to an epic 65 minutes of rock.

This was easily one of the best performances I’ve ever seen any band do. It was just incredible, and aiding their performance was the energy and excitement of the crowd, which the band obviously fed off of. A mosh pit broke out on more than a few occasions, and even once so many people were jumping around and moving, I could feel the floor shaking, making me a bit afraid that it may cave on everybody.

I’m still just in awe of this, I mean, Nothing More was good nearly six years ago when I first saw them. Jonny taking over on vocals elevated them to a whole new level, and now, and now, they’ve pushed themselves so much further. And I feel very comfortable saying that there is no better currently active band in all of Texas than Nothing More, and if you want to disagree, then you obviously haven’t been to one of their shows.

It won’t be years before the next time NoMo gets to North Texas, as they actually have two shows here next month. The first is Saturday, June 2nd at Trees in Dallas (where they will be main support for Moving Atlas), while the other show is going to be Friday, June 22nd at Hailey’s in Denton with a band they are touring with, Bravo Delta. Aside from those dates, the rest of their schedule as is follows: May 16th at Blue Bonnett Palace in Selma, Texas. May 18th at ND Austin in Austin. May 19th at the Strawberry Festival in Houston/Pasadena. June 3rd at Sunken Gardens in San Antonio. June 15th at Brick by Brick in San Diego, California. June 16th at AMPLYFI in Los Angeles, California. June 20th at Tempe Tavern in Tempe, Arizona. June 23rd at Eclipse Cultural House in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also, find “The Few Not Fleeting” in iTunes, and their forthcoming record should be out later this year.

This was just a real fun night, filled with both great music (one last shout out to WK Productions for putting this together) and hanging out with great friends/business partners, and it will definitely live in my mind for MANY years to come.

One last noteworthy thing about three of the bands that were on this bill, they all have a song available for download as part of a FREE music compilation. Paco, Moving Atlas and Nothing More are all featured on Escaping the Ordinary: Volume III, which you can download by going HERE.


NOTE: Some amazingly talented individuals and myself have partnered up to create RYA Entertainment. We give you all the benefits of working with a major label (booking and promotional experience, industry connections, strength in numbers) without the hassles and cost associated with signing to a label. If your band would be interested in working with us in any of those aspects or performing at a future show of ours, contact me at: TheRealMusicEnthusiast@GMAIL.COM


A note to whom it may interest: I’m wanting to get advertisers on my blog. If you are a band, music venue, or have any type of product or business whatsoever you want to promote, e-mail me at: for full info. I will tell you now though, I get good traffic on my site and my prices will be VERY, VERY affordable to even the most broke bands/people. So please, allow me to help promote YOUR product constantly, and not just when I do a show review. Venues, I can list all your upcoming shows as I do for the Granada Theater. Bands, I can put up an image of your album cover and link that to iTunes, etc. Let me know if you would be interested in getting in on this exciting opportunity!

Saturday, January 28, 2012 – Part II: The Release of Escaping the Ordinary: Volume III

We arrived at Club Dada a little after 11:45, where The Phuss was finishing their set. It would’ve been nice if it worked out to see more of it, but I had at least seen them the previous weekend, and we at least got the last couple of songs, which of course included the closer, “Preacher Preacher”. The band will be playing the Boiler Room in Dallas on March 3rd, so be there if you can.

Soon enough the San Antonio based, Nothing More, was set up and ready to go. I was fortunate enough to see them at an acoustic show in San Antonio this past August, whilst in the area for the Dia De Los Toadies concert, but it had been over a year and a half since I last saw one of their full-blown rock shows… I imagine that was up in Denton at the Boiler Room. Ty Griffin, the founder of Escaping the Ordinary, got on stage to introduce the band and thank all the others who had played, and when he was done, guitarist, Mark Vollelunga, drummer, Paul Obrien, bassist, Daniel Oliver, and vocalist, Jonny Hawkins, took the stage for what would be an hour-long show. I was worried the set list would have undergone many changes since I last saw them, and while it had, they still opened with my favorite. Dan and Mark beat away at the drums (I believe they were toms?) that were beside them, as the they and Johnny sang into the mic, before Mark started them into “Bullets And Blue Eyes”. I knew I was looking forward to seeing the band, but had no clue how much until they began that one and I felt the excitement rush through me. This was where MuteMath failed for me; I was excited to see the band but in their 2+ hour show they never executed their stage performance in the way that Nothing More achieved in mere moments. After that song was when I really noticed a difference from the last electric show I had seen the band do, and it didn’t all deal with the set list. Their stage show had gone up exponentially, which I didn’t think could happen because they already were astounding. They wound the end of “Bullets…” into the instrumental, “Under the Eyes of Selene”, which soon led to “Sixty Second Affair”. The main difference with the way they handled their songs was that they now segued most all of them together, which added a wonderful flow, and after Johnny added to the percussion with his tom and bass drum that sat at the front of center stage, they wound that one into the first of many new songs. I believe it was this first one they did that had more of a harder sound to it, which resembled that of “Fell In Love with a Ghost”, and continued the barrage of music with what I think is titled either “$elling Heaven” or “Christ Copyright”. Whatever it is named, I find the full-band version much more engaging than the acoustic was. I had noticed that Johnny’s bass drum seem to have a “case” if you will around it, which appeared to be crafted out of metal. As that song ended, he pulled out what first looked like a pole, but then I realized it had another part which snaked downward, with a slot at the bottom of it. As Johnny locked it into the thing that encased his bass drum Dan removed his bass and placed it in the slot. Johnny began to play the bass by hitting the strings with his drum sticks, as Dan held down some of them on the fret board, all the while Paul kept the beats going and Mark continued shredding, until he laid his guitar down and joined in on the action with the bass. I’ve seen them do this little stunt many times, but what seem like minor cosmetic changes to it make all the difference, over the old contraption they had that propped the bass up. They did three more new songs, all of which led into the next, before eventually leading into an older tune. The sample track for “The Cleansing” began as Paul continued his drumming from the previous song, before they broke into it. Johnny stepped to the forefront of the stage and began singing, “I smell you rot a mile behind. You destroyed these lives so I have made your grave with the dogs. By grace our paths have crossed…” The song is brilliant, and its lyrics, such as that one, can paint a vivid picture in your mind. As they reached the bridge, Dan took over the main mic. “Okay, let’s do this!” he said as he drew in a deep breath. “Fathers, daughters, sons, and mothers, raped and murdered, bound and tied. You came inside you took their lives. You coward, I pray you die!” The mood was lightened with the next song, “This is called Love?” announced Johnny. Dada was packed, and most of the people either sported a Nothing More shirt, or at the very least had been singing along to every word, and during this song they attempted a sing along. It was at the final chorus as the music began to die, “I’ll sing it till the stars fall down. I’ll sing it till my lungs dry out. I could sing it all night long, but you didn’t listen when I sang this song.” as seemingly everyone was singing. Mark was visibly impressed, and he thanked everyone, saying they had no idea what it was like to have an audience “…singing along to your songs.” The title track of their last release, “The Few Not Fleeting”, was played next, and then a fan favorite, “Fat Kid”. I wish I could actually remember what all Dan said, but he launched into an epic speech. “Four score and seven years ago…” he began, taking a page from the Gettysburg Address, with the rest of the speech being similar to the Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, though Dan’s take on it dealt with food. It was quite comical, and had me in near tears from laughing so hard. Afterwards, Johnny mentioned they had only one song left, then corrected himself that it was in fact two more. The first was “Gone”, while “Salem” rounded out the show. It was during that song that they added a lengthy percussion part. Johnny and Paul went into a solo as Mark and Dan picked up the toms they had used at the start of the night. The two got behind Johnny, one standing on either side of him. They tossed the drums around a little before Johnny turned around and began playing them. Dan then took them both, hoisting one onto each shoulder, as both Mark and Johnny beat away at them, before returning to and finishing out the song.

That was the show, as they left, but no sooner had they exited then the thunderous cries for an encore erupted. I doubted one would come, because honestly, how can you top what they had just done? It’s impossible, because they ended on the best note they possibly could, but they still decided to give in to the request. The three instrumentalists returned to the stage and played for a bit, before Johnny joined them to do “Waiting on Rain”.

That really did do it, and what an incredible show it was. To elaborate on what I said earlier about their live show being even better, both Dan and Mark put even more energy into their performance, while Johnny had a powerful presence about him. As for Paul, he seems like a perfect fit for the band, and is quite obviously a talented drummer.

They mentioned that they would hopefully get back to Dallas much sooner, but until then they have several other shows coming up. On February 11th they’ll be in Laredo at Average Joe’s. February 17th will find them at the Howlin’ Wolf in Mandeville, Louisiana, while the next night they will be in Baton Rouge at Click’s, and then on the 19th they’ll rock the Scout Bar in Houston. They return to Louisiana on February 21st, this time to 21 Luna Live in Lake Charles, and on March 17th, they’ll do a hometown San Antonio show at Sam’s Burger Joint.

They are currently working on their next record, and speaking of record, you can find them on Escaping the Ordinary: Volume III, An incredible music compilation that features over 50 bands, and is available as a FREE download. If you are a true fan of music, then you’ll definitely want to check it out.


NOTE: To hear music from these and many other independent artists from Texas, the U.S., and even the world, listen to me weekly “The Music Enthusiast Podcast”, which is part of the WhiskeyBoy Radio Network. If you are in a band and would like me to play your music on the show (assuming I don’t already have it), or perhaps you want an outlet to debut new material, email me at: TheRealMusicEnthusiast@GMAIL.COM


A note to whom it may interest: I’m wanting to get advertisers on my blog. If you are a band, music venue, or have any type of product or business whatsoever you want to promote, e-mail me at: for full info. I will tell you now though, I get good traffic on my site and my prices will be VERY, VERY affordable to even the most broke bands/people. So please, allow me to help promote YOUR product constantly, and not just when I do a show review. Venues, I can list all your upcoming shows as I do for the Granada Theater. Bands, I can put up an image of your album cover and link that to iTunes, etc. Let me know if you would be interested in getting in on this exciting opportunity!

August 26, 2011 - An Acoustic Night with Nothing More

So, you end up in New Braunfels for the Dia de los Toadies music festival. But the tickets you won don’t cover the Friday night acoustic show, just the all day Saturday rock show. What do you on the Friday night? If you’re me, you suddenly remember the San Antonio based, Nothing More is taking a break from working on their new record to do a hometown show. But not just any hometown show. No, it was an incredibly rare acoustic show. But with my luck, the show wouldn’t fall on this Friday night, but instead be on Saturday. I checked their website… It was Friday. So not only would I get to see the band for the first time in well over a year (sometime when they played Denton, at the Boiler Room. Perhaps February ‘10?), but I would also get to see them in their hometown environment, at the venue, Jack’s Bar.

It wasn’t even nine when we got there, and the first act, Taylor Allen, was already playing. But he must not have been playing for too long, cause I got to see the majority of his set. He played an acoustic guitar, and had a percussionist on stage with him, who rocked it on a Cajon. At one point the percussionist mentioned that this was their first time playing live together. You never would’ve guessed it though, as they meshed quite well together, and sounded very good. They were joined by a female backing vocalist on some of their final songs, and while I couldn’t hear her on the first song they did, she added a nice layer to the next one. Then Taylor closed the show by doing a song solo. The music was enjoyable, but man, this guy could sing. He really had a fantastic sounding voice.

Next up was Paco Estrada, but not with his latest band. No, tonight he was just solo. Man, I haven’t seen him in this format in about four and a half years, shortly after SouthFM disbanded. He opened his set by stating his name. “You’ll probably hear that name again tonight, if you haven’t before. If you don’t know me…” he paused for a second. “…I’m best known for putting boy bands together, like Nothing More…” He ran through a couple of songs, which sounded amazing, though I was unsure if they were covers or originals. Before going into the next song, he mimicked a conversation of awhile back, between he and the guys of Nothing More. “Y’all need to do an acoustic show sometime. No, Paco. No. We’re not going to do an acoustic show.” He brought this up a few times throughout his set. Next he did a couple tunes from his recent album, “The Definite and Indefinite…”, with one song being “Sparks”. He placed a capo on his guitar for the next one, a song that was made slightly more beautiful by being performed in this stripped down setting, “When We Were Made”. At this point some guy in the crowd made a song request. “Vesica Piscis!!” the dude shouted. “I think Nothing More has that one taken care of for me.” replied Paco, who then told those who might not know his old rock band [SouthFM] wrote that song. “…When I was in a rock band, we used to have the privilege of opening for Nothing More in San Antonio.” he said. “But when I become an acoustic act, they put me in the nine o’clock slot, cause my music didn’t go as well with theirs. But now look, I’m playing right before them at their acoustic show.” He set up the next tune as being a cover, which turned out to be “Knife Party” by the Deftones. He did “Do You Believe?” next, adding the lyrics to some cover song onto the last bit of the song, then supposedly ended his set with “I Will Never Let You Go”. As always, he thanked everyone for their “…Time and patience.” and got ready to leave the stage, but the people wanted one more. He got the okay, and sit back down. “How ‘bout this one.” He eventually said, and started playing his guitar. Then he sang the first line of the song, “We’ve established this is where we stand…” Yes, it was “Surface”. I had been wanting to hear that classic again for some time, and even if it was solo it sounded great. Near the end, he added part of that one Maroon 5 song to it. “…I don’t mind spending everyday, out on your corner in the pouring rain. Look for the girl with the broken smile, and ask her if she’d like to stay awhile.” He then added a part of another cover song to it, and that put an end to his 53 minute set. I’d totally forgotten how awe-inspiring Paco is solo. Without any instruments to compete with, his voice really shines through and I thought sounded even better then it normally does. Catch him and his band on Wednesday, August 31st at the Liquid Lounge in Dallas. He’ll be back here at Jack’s on September 3rd, with his full band. They’ll also be playing the Continental Club in Houston on September 1st, and Darwin’s Pub in Austin on the 2nd. And they’ll be headlining Trees in Dallas on Saturday, September 17th. (Note: It was also quite funny seeing the look of total shock on Paco’s face when I went over and said hey to him. Priceless.)

It wasn’t even quite eleven when the current three piece, Nothing More, walked onto the stage. I couldn’t believe all the cheering and applause they were getting, cause they don’t get that when they play Denton or Dallas. Guitarist, Mark Vollelunga, took a seat on stage right, while bassist, Daniel Oliver, was seated on stage left. And of course vocalist, Jonny Hawkins, had the center stage. They didn’t waste anytime starting the show, as Dan began playing a familiar bass riff. It wasn’t as intense as it usually is, but it was evident it was still “Salem”. Then Jonny softly, and in a higher register than normal, sang the opening line. “Where does your misfortune grow, from a humble house with a cross burning slow…” They continued right along, as Mark transitioned the final notes of that song into the next one, and my personal favorite, “Bullets and Blue Eyes”. Mr. Estrada was supposed to join them for this song, but they were most of the way through it and there was still no sign of him. “…To hell with our love, you drink the blood and I’ll drink the wine.” sang Jonny, before the music dropped out. As he sang those last couple of words, the door to the stage opened, and Paco lumbered on stage, grabbing Mark’s mic and re-positioning it for himself. Mark suddenly came back in on the guitar, as Paco sang, “What would you say, if I walked out that door, left your heart on the floor?” Jonny then joined him, as they got a little duet action going. “What would you change? Would you die to yourself, just to love someone else?…” “He’s the actual voice on the recorded version of that song.” announced Jonny, after the song was finished and Paco walked back off the stage. The only set up that was offered for the next was that it was a new one. And I thought, especially lyrically, it was the best new song they debuted. (Based on the lyrics, I’m guessing this was a song, that awhile back they asked their fans on Facebook to pick one of two working titles for. In which case I’d assume it is called either “$elling Heaven” or “Christ Copyright”.) And while Jonny toned it back on some of the songs this night, he sang fiercely enough on this one it was like a full band rock show. They did a little prelude to the next song, which based on the lyrics seemed, and indeed was, a lead in to “Love?”. Which sounded pretty awesome acoustic, by the way. They showcased a couple more new songs next, and I think it was one of those Dan started in on a killer little bass riff. Then Mark came in, and it sounded horrendous. “What is that?” asked Jonny. “Did Mark get a new pedal?” Mark was already messing with his pedal board, trying to resolve the issue, as Jonny said it wouldn’t be a Nothing More show if something like this didn’t happen. “When we finally use instruments that don’t use electricity, we have electrical problems.” Pointed out Dan. “And when we do electric shows, we have mechanical problems…” But they got it fixed quickly, and cranked out the song. “Where going to give Jonny’s voice a rest for a few minutes, and Dan is going to take you on a Nothing More history lesson.” Mark said. Dan began talking about how at one point the band almost split into two groups, cause some of their music was almost funk sounding. He also mentioned that as a kid he had a weight issue. And he and Mark played one of, if not the, originally written chorus of “Fat Kid”, which did have a very funky beat to it. “We knew we had made it then.” Jonny said, “Cause on the second chorus, everyone was singing along.” Dan went through some more NM history, before they played a revised version of the chorus. And after that, they all did the final version of “Fat Kid”, in its entirety. The next couple of tunes were covers, one of which they said was an old song by Our Lady Peace. And the next one was written by Paco Estrada. “…He was the first musician we really respected.” Dan said, after saying the happened across his music shortly after Nothing More began touring “…We just wanted to carry the torch.” Added Jonny, who also said maybe one day the song would make it onto a NoMo record. “Maybe this one, maybe another one.” The song was “Vesica Pisces”, which really sounded more appropriate acoustic. Some more new tunes followed, one of which sounded like another tune about Jonny’s mother’s battle with cancer, and was another favorite of mine this night. “This next song is kinda of funny, cause it sounds so incredibly different from this.” said Jonny, setting up the next song. “It’s real heavy. Kinda like [Fell In Love with a] Ghost.” “It’s time for that moment of the night.” Dan said, “The last song of the night.” I thought I knew exactly what it was going to be, but they had something else in mind, as they started the final song from “The Few Not Fleeting” album, “It Seems”. And while I sometimes skip this song when listening to the CD, I really enjoyed hearing it live. And that seemed to put an end to their set. A large number of people seemed to leave, while the diehard fans chanted for one more. I didn’t expect anything, but soon, Mark walked back through the stage door, grabbed his guitar, and took a seat. “We’d like to thank y’all again for coming out tonight.” He said, as Dan and Jonny made their way back out. “So, we’re going to play the song that started it all.” said Jonny. “Or, at least started me singing in the band.” The song was “Gone”, and during its second verse, Jonny pointed the mic towards the audience and them yell the line, “…I wish I’d never seen cancer…” They also added in the extra lyrics that can be heard on the acoustic recording, “I watched you crumble, I watched you fall. The weight of the world, it took it all. I remember your fight, I remember why, you never give until it’s time… You may have never known how much you changed me, but I’ll tell you this, the world will soon see.” And that put a wrap on their 68 minute long set.

I’ve dug their “The Few Not Fleeting” record out lately and listened to it a few times, and I’d forgotten what a truly solid effort that thing is. There isn’t a bad song on it, and I’d rank it in my top ten of best albums I’ve ever heard. Now, to switch gears for a minute. At one point in the show Jonny said this was a good way to play some new songs without “giving anything away”, since the electric versions will be drastically different. That said, what new songs they did, even in this format, made their previous record sound like a piece of sh*t. The bands growth, in both the musical and lyrical aspect, is quite evident and exponential. And that’s how a top talent group of musicians should be. They should keep pushing themselves to write even better material. Like Paco Estrada for example. Who is the only musician I’ve heard of who, with each new release, tops his prior one.

I’m now really excited for this new album, which they said they were now past the demo stages of the process, and with a lot of luck, maybe it’ll see a release date this year. And hopefully the Dallas/Denton area will once again get some love from these guys. Cause while I’m glad it just so happened I was able to go to this show, the trip to San Antonio is certainly not a short one.

The Best of 2010

So the year’s pretty much done with, meaning it’s time for my “Best Of” list. Let’s kick it off with the albums of 2010, shall we?

1.) Artist: Secret of Boris

Album: Your Ghost

Label: Self-released

Must listen song: Desert Blood

2.) Artist: The Toadies

Album: Feeler

Label: Kirtland Records

Must listen song: Suck Magic

Well, I’m glad I didn’t have to wait 13 years for this album like the old-school Toadies fans did. This is without question the best record they’ve churned out since “Rubberneck”, probably since these songs were written three short years after that first major-label release. On the downside most of the 9 songs are shorter, with the album clocking in just barely over 30 minutes. And I would’ve liked to have heard re-done versions of some of the other songs from that time. i.e.”Send You to Heaven” and “Little Fish”. Maybe a “Feeler 2” could be released one day?

3.) Artist: Doug Burr

Album: O Ye Devastator

Label: Velvet Blue Music / Spune

Must listen song: High Blood and Long Evening Dresses

4.) Artist: In Memory of Man

Album: The Reckoning (EP)

Label: Self released

Must listen song: Paper Planes

5.) Artist: Ivoryline

Album: Vessles

Label: Tooth & Nail Records

Must listen song: Walking Dead

Ivoyline has been flirting with the Christian Rock genre since I first heard of them in ‘05. But aside from a reference here and there (“…We should scream thank you with every waking breath…”), they still stuck more on the rock side of things. This album changes all that. They’ve finally crossed that line, with just about every song relating in some way to Christianity. But the beauty of it is it isn’t preachy, and you can only interpret the lyrics to mean that if that’s what you want them to mean. And regardless of any of what I just said, this album is still full of great rock songs.

6.) Artist: Smile Smile

Album: Truth On Tape

Label: Kirtland Records

Must listen song: Cancer

7.) Artist: Descender

Album: Army Of Elephants (EP)

Label: Self-released

Must listen song: Gunpowder Drums

8.) Artist: Tommy & the High Pilots

Album: American Riveria (EP)

Label: Redbird Records

Must listen song: The Limit

9.) Artist: The Bright Light Social Hour

Album: The Bright Light Social Hour

Label: Self-released

Must listen song: Shanty

10.) Artist: Jimmy Gnecco

Album: The Heart

Label: Bright Antenna

Must listen song: Rest Your Soul

As far as shows go, I ended up seeing 86 this year. A new personal best for me. And while narrowing it down to a “Top 10” was a bit difficult, here they are…

1.) SouthFM @ the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum on Saturday June 12, 2010

2.) Toadies @ the Palladium Ballroom in Dallas on Saturday August 7, 2010

3.) Forty Percent (Reunion Show) w/ Meridian @ the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum on Saturday December 11, 2010

4.) SouthFM w/ Mothers Anthem & Meridian @ Tree’s in Deep Ellum on Saturday November 27, 2010

5.) In Memory of Man @ Tree’s in Deep Ellum on Saturday June 5, 2010

6.) Air Review w/ Radiant @ Tree’s in Deep Ellum on Friday April 9, 2010

7.) The Bright Light Social Hour @ Renfield’s in Dallas on Wednesday November 24, 2010

8.) Descender w/ Dead Twins @ Lochrann’s Irish Pub in Frisco on Thursday August 19, 2010

9.) Exit 380 w/ The Orange @ Hailey’s in Denton on Saturday September 18, 2010

10.) Nothing More @ The Boiler Room in Denton on Saturday April 10, 2010

And finally, while I’m not going to make this a “real” category, I’d like to name my personal best discovery of 2010. And that is… Wellhouse Co.! Who, in conjunction with Spune Productions, takes over Lochrann’s Irish Pub in Frisco every Thursday night (& occasionally Friday’s and/or Saturday’s). Really the only place that regularly has bands in this part of the suburbs is The Door Plano. But their target audience is more the teenage crowd, plus the bands are no names to me. But what Wellhouse and Spune are doing is actually trying to create a music scene in the ‘burbs. They’ve had Descender, Dead Twins, RTB2, Telegraph Canyon, and countless other heavy hitters of the DFW music scene play there. And more than a few times have I walked out of there, clutching a CD or two I picked up from an artist I’d never even heard of a few hours before. And for a local music fan like myself this works on a few different levels. 1.) I’ve seen a few of my favorite local acts play there, all for free. 2.) Even if I haven’t heard of any of the bands that are playing that night, I’ve usually ended up liking them to some extent. And 3.) Even if I don’t really like any of the bands, seeing them for free is still a great way to kill a Thursday night. So check out Wellhouse’s upcoming calendar, and on some Thursday night make a trip to Downtown Frisco. You just might discover your new favorite band! (Seriously, check out there shows planned for January. Some killer bands have been lined up, & I plan on being there every Thursday night that month!)

Feburary 4, 2010 - A Benefit Show for Fair to Midland

At the beginning of the year one of the biggest name bands to come out of Dallas recently, Fair to Midland, had an unfortunate wreck. Resulting in all of their gear being destroyed and completely useless. But fortunately the music scene here is awesome and takes care of their own. So tonight was the first of three benefit shows to try to help FTM get back on their feet. Tonight’s being at the Boiler Room in Denton, and next weekend a two night stand at Dallas’s Curtain Club.

Opening the show was Pale Horse. I missed most of their show, but what I saw was alright. Nothing I was too crazy about, but it wasn’t a bad listen.

The night really got good next, when Nothing More took the stage. They started with  guitarist, Mark, and bassist, Dan, banging on the bass drum that was set up beside each of them, as well as hitting a piece of tin. This is a cool way to open a show, it just sets a really awesome mood. Then they started into their first song of the night, and my favorite, “Bullets and Blue Eyes”. As soon as they finished they then did their cover of “Vesica Pisces”, followed by a new song. “Alright!” said Dan, “This next song is for all you people who were like me when I was younger. Just a little overweight. But not letting that stereotype you, and actually doing something with your life!” and with that they started into “Fat Kid”. Next came their show trademarks, their little thing they do with the bass. They got their stagehand up their, as he held the neck of the bass at an angle, while Dan started playing the neck portion, as frontman, Jonny, was hitting the strings on the bass’s head with his drumsticks. “Salem” came next. And making the song even better, was when the whole band went into a sole percussion piece. It was during the song’s instrumental bridge, Jonny started playing the two drums set up in front of him, while Dan and Mark started hitting the bass drums that were still beside them. They then picked up their drum and went to the center stage, and did some very well coordinated moves, as Jonny started hitting those drums as well. It was pretty cool. It went on for a couple minutes, before they finally picked back up with “Salem” and finished out the song. They had enough time for one more song, and they closed their set with “Sixty Second Affair”. My only complaint, I wish they had gotten a little longer set, but otherwise they were great!

Trebuchet was next, and they killed it as they always do. They opened with “Intelligent Design”, which really set the mood for their set. The song’s a perfect example of the in your face rock that they bring. They did a pretty rockin’ instrumental piece next, I know I’ve heard them do it before, and I really like it. “Shut This Thing Off!” came next, which kinda surprised me. I figured when they played the last time I saw them that it was more of a special thing. But after hearing it this show too, I’m guessing it’s found it’s way back into their live set, which I really like. When they started the next tune, I knew it, but couldn’t place it. Until Justin sang out the first few words of “Ego Trip”. They had just started the song with an alternate intro. I was VERY pleasantly surprised with their next song, “Single File”. Hadn’t heard them do it live since back in the summer, and figured I might never again. I really hope that song stays in the set for awhile, as it’s one of my favorites. I think it was after they finished it that the sound guy interrupted. “I’ve been asked to tell you not to hang from that pipe above you.” he said to Justin. “Okay.” Justin replied, then added “It’s surprisingly sturdy.” He may’ve been standing on the monitors and kinda hanging from said pipe a little more then normal. But I’ve seen them here at the Boiler Room four times before this, and he’s always done that. So why they suddenly decided he shouldn’t be doing that I find kinda funny. Bobby started in on the drums, beginning their best song, “Black Beard”. The “Powers of Speech” came next, then one of their new songs. “This one’s about zombies.” said Justin, while Dustin was rocking out the songs intro. They had one song left to do, their “…homage to rock ‘n’ roll.” And really it wouldn’t be a Trebuchet show at the Boiler Room if they didn’t close with “Waffles and Pancakes”. And they got some fan participation near the end of the song, as the crowd shouted out the line “What happened to rock ‘n’ roll?”. This show made it the tenth time I’ve seen these guys, in the ten months since I first stumbled upon them. And I know that is the shortest amount of time it’s taken me to see a band ten times. And this show tonight was one of the best I’ve seen them do, at least in my top 5.

Though the night was about Fair to Midland, I didn’t stick around for them. The only full show I’ve seen them do, well to put it nicely, I just didn’t like. Their music just isn’t my cup of tea. But that’s not too say I don’t sympathize with their situation. Cause while they may have a bigger name label and such, in the end, they’re just like all the other local bands I like. They’re just doing what they love to do.

April 10, 2010 - Nothing More

First up rockin’ the Boiler Room this night was Blunt Force. Despite what everyone else thought, I wasn’t too impressed. They certainly put the effort into it, but I didn’t really care for the overall product. A good 80% of what I think of a band is determined by the vocals, and usually if I have a problem with a band it’s due to me not liking their singer. This was case for this band. Their singer’s voice was decent and kinda like the stuff that you can hear one trillion+ bands singing like when you turn your radio on to most any station. The show though was alright. I’d say their singer needs to take some voice lessons. I think they are kind of on to something and they were obviously taking it seriously, it just needs to be better perfected.

San Antonio’s own Nothing More was next. The first couple of songs they do are always the same, but at least they’re amazing ones. They did their normal intro with guitarist, Mark, and bassist, Dan, kinda playing the bass drum set up beside each one, then taking to their instruments and rolling it into “Bullets and Blue Eyes”. And as soon as they finished, Mark began their cover of SouthFM’s “Vesica Pisces”. “The Cleansing” came next, which I still say is one of the coolest songs I’ve heard a band do live. Just the way it sounds and the lyrics, the lyrics are great. “Well this is one we haven’t done for y’all in a while.” Jonny remarked. It was the title track off their album, “The Few Not Fleeting”. They then did some cover song, which sounded pretty good. I liked it more than some of the other stuff they’ve covered in the past. They rocked out another fan favorite next, “Salem”. The coolest part of the song was right in the middle of it, when the broke into an all percussion solo, with Jonny playing the small little kit set up in front of him and Mark and Dan playing the bass drums used from earlier. Then it climaxed with Dan getting both bass drums, one on each shoulder, while Jonny and Mark played ‘em. You really have to see it to really comprehend how awesome it is. They soon got back to the song and finished it up, then started their final piece of the night, “Gone”. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this one, because I haven’t heard them do it since the late summer of last year. It’s hands down the best song they have, but also the most personal, as it deals with Jonny’s mother slowly dying of cancer. This was the best show I’ve seen Nothing More do. EVER. They were in top notch performance mode, and it showed. They always get a sizeable crowd out and it was no different tonight, packing a good portion of the Boiler Room. And when they were done the crowd started chanting “ONE MORE!”, which continued until the sound guy finally came up on stage and started taking the mics off.

The Raven Charter was headlining, and I was looking forward to seeing them again. It was obvious from the get-go that it was going to be a slightly different show as they set all their gear up in a totally non-traditional way. Drummer, Stephen Thacker, set his kit up on stage right. It’s a good thing he never lost his balance or anything, cause he would’ve fallen right off the stage. Erik Stolpe had his keyboard and acoustic guitar set up on stage left. And singer/guitarist, Brandon Bond, guitarist/singer, Daniel Baskind, and bassist, Anthony Sosa, placed their amps and everything on the drum riser, which looked just strange. They got going with several good songs, one of which is named after their hometown, “Denton, Texas”. They saved the last half of their set for all the songs off their self-titled EP, beginning with “Thousand Worlds”, then (and not in this exact order) “5:16” “Sacrifice” and “Survival Kit”, before closing with “Through Captain’s Eyes”. Their CD is alright, but it’s the show where it all comes to life with these guys. Some of their songs have pretty lengthy instrumental parts and the odd stage set up I mentioned made it perfect for Brandon and Anthony to jump on the drum riser and just rock out, stealing the show momentarily by getting everyone’s attention. And while not many bands can pull off having more than one vocalist, these guys do. Both Brandon and Danial have very similar sounding voices, so it doesn’t totally stick out when they occasionally switch from one to the other. Though Brandon is the main vocalist. They put on a high-quality performance that’s well worth checking out.

October 15, 2009 - Some of Texas’s Best

The Boiler Room was hosting an amazing night of music this night.

Getting the show started was a solo singer, Stephanie Ellen, who was only solo because her full band wasn’t there, so she said. Her music had more of a country sound to it, & most times I could really care less for country, but this ended up being an exception. I found her music really pretty good, & she has a fantastic voice. It was a good way to get the show rolling.

Now it was time for the rock to start, with San Antonio’s best, Nothing More. It had only been 3 weeks since their last show here, & if everyone who was crowded around the stage was there for them, then they had the best crowd of the night. The set list was pretty much the same as the one before but it was a damn good one, so I didn’t mind it. They kicked it off with an instrumental piece that lasted for a couple minutes, then launched into “Bullets & Blue Eyes” followed by their cover of “Vesica Piscis”. Next they did an older song “Welcome Home”, one they didn’t do at their previous show “Waiting On Rain”, “Fat Kid” and finished it off with “Under the Eyes of Selene/Sixty Second Affair”. Mixed in between the songs was their standard, amazing, instrumental pieces where Dan puts his bass in a stand (they had evidently made a new one, so they didn’t need a person to hold it this time), while frontman Jonny starts playing it with the drum sticks. For an opening act they had a lengthy set, probably 40 to 45 minutes, which was no problem with me.

Next was the city of Austin’s finest, Mothers Anthem. It started off as typical, their intro track started playing and after a minute their four instrumentalists got up on stage and started into “Awaiting the Fall”. Not wasting any time Kirk was right behind them, & he started singing the song almost as soon as he stepped on stage. The rest of the set was “Slowly On Your Own” “Holding You Hostage” “Now We Are Never” “Beautiful” “Amaze Me” “One Day”, and the last one “Like A Drug”. I’d say the highlight of their set was when their tech guy brought a keyboard on the stage and they played “Amaze Me”. Kirk announced they were going to do the song then asked the sound guy to take his vocals out of the front monitors, “I don’t want to ruin this moment for these people. After all they’re who this is all about.” he said. It’s not like it’s a song I’m crazy over, but just the fact that they were playing a different song than usual was awesome.

Completing this night of awesome music was the Denton based band, Faktion, who were doing their first show in the area in about five months. They started their show around 12:30, opening with “Take Your Shot”. Most of the songs they played were newer ones, “Poison Ivy” “Miss You”, as well as some brand spankin’ new stuff, “Next Best Thing” “Heartless” and “Just A Man”. Their covers of “Shook Me” and “You Can’t Save Me” did find their way into their set list too, as well as couple tunes from their albums, “Let You In” and “Save the World”, and they finished the show with “Be An Animal”. They really put on a great show, a lot of their songs are starting to kinda have an 80’s rock vibe to them, but I’d say that makes them all the better.

September 24, 2009 - Night 1: Nothing More

My Solstice, from Tulsa Oklahoma, started off this show and was already playing when I got to the Boiler Room. I’d heard of them on myspace some time ago, probably one to two years, but had never seen them before. There live show’s great & their music is just as good.

The next band was The Royal Tragedy. I didn’t like them. Their singer didn’t have even a decent voice & it quickly got on my nerves. Their music however was great, and after tuning out the “singing”, it wasn’t all that bad.

Peacemaker played next. I still don’t like Peacemaker.

Nothing More was headlining the show, & they were still fairly fresh off their east coast tour. After getting everything setup they started out with bassist Dan & guitarist Mark hitting some drums that were next to them. It started building up more & more till they finally launched into the first song, & the one I’ve been wanting to hear them play live the most, “Bullets And Blue Eyes”. As soon they finished it they tore into the next song, which took me a second to realize it was their cover of SouthFM’s “Vesica Piscis”. They played a lot of their best songs from their album, including “The Few Not Fleeting” “Fat Kid” “The Cleansing” “Salem”, which Siren City’s bassist, Mark, had been asked play, so he got up on stage & rocked it out, doing a great job by the way. They finished with “Sixty Second Affair” & came back for an encore doing their cover of “I Kissed A Girl”. “So we can do a song about gay love that we didn’t write, or we can do a song about straight love that we didn’t write.” joked their singer Jonny, “By the way we’re not gay.” as Dan chimed in “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”. More at the beginning of their show, after a few songs, Dan placed his bass on one of the drums at the front of the stage as a guy got up on stage to hold the neck of the bass in a slanted position. “So when we were on our tour, like right in the middle of it, all our shit broke.” Jonny said, “So now we have to use people to do our stuff”. As they started into their little routine where Jonny plays the bass by hitting it with the drum sticks as Dan holds down the strings, & later Mark joins in on it. It’s much more entertaining than it sounds, & if you want to see one of the best live shows a band can do, these guys are a definite must see.