Review: Nothing More – SWX Bristol

Nothing More

SWX Bristol
17th Feb 2024

Some years ago my partner and I were sheltering in one of the tents at Download, escaping one of the many torrential downpours. We had no idea who was next on stage, but sometimes the unknown turns out to be a revelation, and we were blown away by a band called Nothing More. They appear in the UK far too rarely, so no way were we going to miss one of the few dates on this European tour!

The evening didn’t get off to the most auspicious start. Wondering past the venue en route for a pre-gig pint, we were surprised to see no queue! Then realised we could hear music! Yep, doors were at 6.30 not 7.30, and the first band Siamese had already played half their set! Luckily SWX is very photographer-friendly so I was able to shoot the rest of their set from the side! What I did catch of their set impressed me. For an opening act, the Danes had the crowd in the palm of their hand. Their sound was refreshing and intriguing, particularly when featuring violinist Christian Horta Lauritzen, and I certainly wished I had caught more of their set! Somehow both heavy AND melodic I hope we cross paths soon!

From Denmark to Japan for the filling in tonight’s sandwich and SiM or Silence iz Mine. Again, an absolute revelation for this first-time experience as they ripped into an appreciative crowd with their energetic set. Rarely do you find a band with so many influences wrapped in their sound as Mah (vocals), Show-Hate (guitar), Sin (Bass), and GODRi (Drums) set about a set showing shades of Reggae, Hip-Hop, Punk, and Metal, crafted into a glorious sound all of their own. Mosh pits open, arms are pumped skywards and bodies fly over the barriers as Mah encourages more and more with a wicked grin and iconic showmanship. Highlight of the set for me? ‘Baseball Bat’. A total earworm that I am singing to this day!

Finally, at an ungodly hour, it is time for Nothing More. Two great support acts have raised the bar. Can they compete? Can they raise it further? No. Problem. Whatsoever!

John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ takes the lights down and Mark Vollelunga, Daniel Oliver, and Ben Anderson take applause before the ripped and body-painted Jonny Hawkins stands centre stage and launches ‘Let ‘em Burn’ which, without a pause, rips into ‘Do You Really Want It?’. This really is a band that deserves more acclaim, although many awards have been won. Somehow they still exist at a level where they are playing this size venue.

‘Don’t Stop’ follows on with an up close and personal crowd visit from Vollelunga, before the new single ‘If It Doesn’t Hurt’ reveals emotions around the recent domestic issues that have been documented. ‘Go to War’ from the ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ movie is for me an absolute classic and is followed by the never-easy-to-listen-to-as-it-gets-so-many-feels, ‘Jenny’. The unreleased ‘Angel Song’ then gets an airing and we get treated to a variety of tracks from the 2022 studio album ‘Spirits’, with ‘Tired of Winning’, ‘Ships in the Night’ and ‘FACE IT’, all of which more than hold their own against older material. ‘I’ll Be OK’ has Hawkins encourage a glowworm cavern of phone lights before it is back to ‘Spirits’ for the title track.

‘Fadein/Fadeout’ has me shed a tear as it always does. A beautiful lyric about watching the changing power and life force of father and son which leads into the penultimate track of ‘Ocean Floor’. Having seen Nothing More often, they simply don’t play encores. Tonight has been stripped of the visual spectacle of the usual “Bassinator” and “Scorpion tail” but I suspected there would be something special to end.

True to form, the band ripped into ‘This is the Time (Ballast)’ as if it were the opening track, leaving NOTHING behind. To finish, how about the sight of all bar Anderson playing their instruments ON the crowd, including Hawkins battering the hell out of a drum kit supported by fans? It is still only ten o’clock in Bristol. The venue opened as a nightclub shortly after clearing out, but I suspect as those clubbers entered they could still hear echoes and feel the energy of such an incredible night.

All future Nothing More live dates can be found HERE.

Review and images – Danni Wilkins/Rob Wilkins/Celtography

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