Concert Review: Nothing More at the House of Blues

Someone needs to go check the guys from Nothing More to see if their hearts are still beating. I think they left them on the stage at the House of Blues on February 23rd. With friends and family in the audience, they held absolutely nothing back at their first Texas show on their The Stories We Tell Ourselves Tour 2018. If you ever catch me sitting at a Nothing More show, there is something seriously wrong. These guys have one of the most high-energy, creative, hard hitting live shows in the industry. They will pull you out of your seats with heavy, power driving grooves such as “Let ‘Em Burn”, “Do You Really Want It?” and “Don’t Stop” and move you to tears with poetic, emotionally driven songs such as “Fade In/Fade Out” and “Just Say When”.

Fan favorites “Jenny”, “Christ Copyright” and “Mr. MTV” off of their self-titled album, were not forgotten at this show. They opened with “Christ Copyright”. The unmistakable mix of electronics and drums incited fists to the air. Drummer, Ben Anderson, beat the drums like they owed him money. Almost everyone was singing along with Johnny as he belted out “They’re selling heaven tonight”. Between the music and the lights, it was easy to get carried away in the moment. The entire night was an incredible experience and ride through the music. It was not merely a show and this song set the tone by forcing me on my feet, my fists in the air and my whole body in a jump, dance, flail thing.

Creativity oozes out of this band. It’s evident in their riffs, their lyrics and their drum parts. It’s most evident in their show, which continually evolves. Bassist, Daniel Oliver built The Scorpion Tail on which Jonny rides over the crowd and the rotating contraption that holds the bass guitar for their emblematic group solo that adds an edge to their live experience. Other tools on stage include two devices that hold the snare drums that Daniel and guitarist, Mark Vollelunga, beat mercilessly during the finale. The guys don’t do encores because in Johnny’s words “they’re fake…and they’re fake”. There’s no need for one anyway given the way they do a finale. “Salem” exploded over us. By the end we were all looking for torches to burn this witch…and I don’t even know her.

Nothing More imprints upon the listener with their music. They give a part of themselves. I love that in addition to interacting with the listeners musically, they interact personally. Johnny shared background information about “Just Say When”. He bared that it was written at the end of an eight-year long relationship. He also profoundly revealed that he enjoys playing “Here’s to the Heartache” because it reminds him they have “built things that [they] could not see then”. He expanded by sharing that all of the difficult challenges they faced had to happen in order for them to be where they are today. He dedicated “Fade In/Fade Out” to his dad for “supporting [him] even when it didn’t make sense”. Written by Mark for his son, lyrics read, “Always push through the pain; And don’t run away from change; Never settle; Make your mark; Hold your head up; Follow your heart.” Leaving the show that night, I felt like I could do all of those things (and burn a witch). Hands down, it was an amazing experience. They’ll be back in Houston on May 12th. Get you some.

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