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