The Blue Note – Columbia, MO – 12 May 2017
What began as a rock/funk band has transformed into one of the greatest experimental hard rock bands to date. Texas natives Nothing More paved their road to success over the last ten years, evolving with every record. Their self-titled album has burst them into mainstream rock and is their hardest record to date. I’ll try and catch these sweet, down to earth guys anytime they come to the Midwest; the intimate setting of The Blue Note was no exception.
TROY was the first opener, a band hailing from Springfield, MO. As Lions had to miss the show due to unforeseen circumstances, so TROY jumped on the bill for the night. They opened for Nothing More last time they were in the area and were recently in a race to have the chance to open for Metallica. Though they lost the contest, they continue to grow their fanbase in this area with their classic rock-esque tunes. TROY won the Columbia crowd over with their half-hour set, ending with a rad cover of The Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post”.
Hell or Highwater delivered a solid set with high energy. Every song performed was off their record VISTA which is to be released this coming week. An onstage power huddle took place before they dived into “Colors”. By the second song, frontman was out into the crowd visiting nearly every area in the venue, performing on the balcony, bar, and mid floor. “Walk Out In The Rain” is catchy as hell, as boppy a song can be while still being heavy. HOH went out with a bang with their newest single “I Want It All” that’s currently “sizzling its way up the rock charts.” Their music, from what I could tell, is one with a message and a purpose, so they fit perfectly on the bill.
The third opener was the trio band Black Map. I say this with the upmost respect, but I didn’t see them fit for the bill. They weren’t as energetic or interactive with the crowd as the previous bands, but that’s okay. Personally, the set was dull. They came off as a band that took themselves too seriously, but that’s just my viewpoint. Fans still seemed to enjoy them nonetheless.
Nothing More marched onto the stage with “Christ Copyright”, immediately erupting into headbanging. They weren’t shy of sharing new material and followed with a track called “Let Em Burn.” They were very gracious with the new music, actually, and performed three tracks total off the much-anticipated album set to release in September. The new material was the heaviest I’ve heard their music; the riffs were grungier and the vocals had much more screaming while still carrying early-day elements. The amount of passion and energy throughout the set was immense, sweating out the toxicity that fueled the new songs.
A mix of distorted, looped vocals introduced “Mr. MTV” – a song addressing the issues of living in corruption and a world full of media shoved down society’s throat. This moment had me teary eyed as I witnessed the entire venue falling in love with this band the same way I did at the clubs and pizza joints over a decade ago. I wasn’t the only one feeling emotional, as Jonny seemed a little choked up on “Here’s to the Heartache” – explaining 2016 was a rough patch for him personally, but that he’s coming back strong. Everyone left the floor and moshed during their hits “This Is The Time” and “Jenny.”
The originality is another easy pass for falling in love with Nothing More. Following “First Punch” was the signature bass solo where they literally drum on Daniel’s bass. The audience egged the guys on during the solo, which contains an excerpt of “Under the Eyes of Selene/Sixtysecondaffair” twisted into an orchestrated melodic piece. Philosophical excerpts create suspense while filling the silence with something more than just white noise, which has always been found on their albums, too. The newest gadget is what’s described as a scorpion tail, which consists of a drum platform and voice/synthe plate, along with pulls that act as whammy bars. The unique sound had some skeptical while others’ jaws dropped. The other Nothing More signature drum solo (by all members) during the last song “Salem” ended on a high note.
If you’ve never seen these guys perform, make sure it gets put on the bucket list. For those who are moved and powered by music, Nothing More‘s set is one that will change you. Their music has such conviction, addressing the issues and truth about politics, religion, spirituality, and mental health. Nothing More will be finishing out their tour before hitting some festivals this summer. Be on the lookout next month for some new music as they emerge from their hibernation.