TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 11, 2018
Click here to watch the interview with Mark and Ben!
Taking the stage after show opener Bad Wolves, it was time for Nothing More.
Coming out guns blazing with “Do You Really Want It?”, a crushing tune to set the tone, Nothing More presented a clever double meaning. As if to ask the crowd if they were ready for the incredible sonic assault that was about to commence on their ear drums and optic nerves, the driving guitar riffs propelled the song up and out of the sheltered roofed amphitheater. Jonny Hawkins (vocals) set to flying around the stage, leaping off monitors and music gear...bringing everyone to their feet with a roar. Never ones to shirk digging for the deeper truth, "Do You Really Want It" is a call to look within yourself to be the change you are looking to see in the world.
All band members were on point leading into “Let 'em Burn”. The refrain "Everybody, everybody lies..." it is easy to find the reason behind the chorus which is the song title. Soaring guitar riffs descend into the depths of chord crunching hell, only to slide into ethereal echoes during the bridge. The vocal range of Jonny is on full display here and he kept the intensity in his voice strong throughout, hitting sky high notes, angelic melodies and throat shredding shrieks.
“Don't Stop” whipped the audience into a frenzy bolstered by Jonny’s frenetic energy bounding across the stage jumping off his drum set like a mad man. Mark Vollelunga (guitar), Ben Anderson (drums) and Dan Oliver (bass) laid down a foundation to propel Jonny's vocals spiraling through the stratosphere, letting the crowd know that they were just warming up and showed no signs of stopping. Shockwaves felt deep in the chest cavity, a perfect blend of grunge, punk, metal and industrialized techno beats, reverberated through the speakers and certainly loosened a few rafters in the place. Call the county inspector after the roadies load out!
True to form, the quartet fired a bolt straight to the brain with lyrics telling listeners to open their eyes to the world around them...and react! The guys urge, in a self anthem, to "keep on digging deep" and "don't stop!" The world can hold a host of terrors and injustice, control and lies. Will you give in? Don't! Look to Nothing More...they "have the fire" and they "have the soul".
A preamble to “Go to War” held a sincere and heart felt “thank you” and appreciation "to all the loyal fans that have supported us through the years” from Jonny. He also acknowledged the critical contributions fans made in helping bring attention to the song that ultimately garnered the guys 3 Grammy nominations. With soaring guitars and a driving bass line, it is easy to understand why industry "know-it-alls" chose such a complex composition.
“Just Say When” added a poignant break to the show with deeply introspective lyrics surrounding a failed relationship and then on to “Jenny” which serves as an ode to Jonny's sister. Packed with emotion, both songs brought the crowd to its feet singing along.
The guys were tight through the time signature changes and downbeat strokes for "Ocean Floor / This is the Time (Ballast)" as Jonny kept his atmospheric vocals strong and clear, a testament to his stamina and strength. The rest of the group worked to beat their instruments into submission, willing the inanimate extensions of themselves to express their own anger, rage, joy and ecstasy in this one, singular moment. The crowd, in perfect synchronicity, raised rock horns and slammed their heads back and forth, becoming one with Nothing More in their declaration. It was truly a sight to behold.
"First of the Year (Equinox)" is a cover, of sorts, of the Skrillex tune. Putting their own unique stamp of creativity on the tune, Nothing More first timers were hardly prepared for the rise of the Scorpion's Tail. It laid in wait, disguised as an additional drum station for Jonny (previously holding the drummer position early on in Nothing More history) and would have been missed by the untrained eye. Straight out of Mad Max Fury Road and onto the Tampa stage, the beast was awakened, launching Jonny 15 feet into the air.
With a MIDI console that would make Manson, Rezner and Zombie jealous, the mechanism was brought to its full height when Jonny screeched the song's iconic refrain “call 911 now!” Cranking levers, slamming buttons and screaming mercilessly, the connection between the magnificent DIY industrial monstrosity worked to manipulate voice, lead and bass guitar into a fusion unlike any other. Like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain working to frighten Dorothy and her rag tag group of companions, Jonny was a "wizard" on a music fueled bender, expending enough energy that the apparatus swayed dangerously side to side like a palm tree in a Florida hurricane.
"Salem (Burn the Witch)" was a fitting close, ending on a breathless high note. The song featured a drum break which had everyone in the group hitting the skins in an avalanche of smoke and strobe lights.
And just like that, they were gone. Making way for the remaining acts...Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch. It was a fantastic event, featuring a stage show highlighting the creativity of true artists. Nothing More, like they have for years, were off to make their way down the road and share their special brand of infectious techno beats melded with driving metal.
Until next time, guys. We count the days 'til your return!
Jonny Hawkins • vocals
Mark Vollelunga • guitar
Daniel Oliver • bass
Ben Anderson • drums
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