Emo’s in Austin; it’s a bit like the local candy store in your home town. It isn’t the largest or prettiest candy store, but you can guarantee the sweets behind the doors will keep you coming back for more. The venue isn’t our largest in a city known for its musical variety and notoriety, but it keeps bringing in some of the top name performers from Joey Bada$$, A$AP Ferg, Steve Aoki and now, Nothing More with supporting performers The Contortionist, Big Story and KIRRA as part of the band’s The Stories We Tell Ourselves tour.
Nothing More, originating in San Antonio, is a bit of a piecemeal band with an interesting background. The band’s current four members — Jonny Hawkins with the voice (and shirtless body), Mark Vollelunga on the guitar, Ben Anderson on the drums and Daniel Oliver on bass — has had quite a variety of members since the band’s inception in the early 2000s. Only Hawkins and Vollelunga remain as the original members, with another seven who have come and gone as the band (and its members) have developed over the 15 years.
Big Story and KIRRA were welcomed openers; the former band are Texas-natives from Dallas and set the tone and expectation of the night with a frenzy of smoke, red lights and rather thinning (but loud) crowd kickstarted the windy and cold night. Emo’s has a rather thin pit between the concertgoers and the performers, which leads to the front row-listeners often suffering from sore necks the next morning due to the stage’s high height and the opening bands’ close proximity to the edge of the stage and away from the main acts’ kits further behind them. Nonetheless, the night continued with sore necks or not.
The Contortionist were happy to bring the show up a notch or two; lights, smoke and the atmosphere intensified with each song. If you haven’t listened to them and you’re looking for a new dose of progressive-metal/rock and are a fan of Dream Theater and Deftones, look them up on your favorite music source. You’re in for that candy store-treat akin to a Warhead — a splash of sweetness and melody with a large backing of that sour punch you came to expect with a Nothing More + supporting band tour.
Everyones’ tastebuds were now primed for the main event: Nothing More took the stage.
Nothing More kept the mantra known to Texas; Everything is bigger in the Lonestar state. The lights, the smoke, the stage, the performance were all bigger than what I believe Emo’s could contain. The energy swarmed the room and left no void unfilled. While many performers, ranging from pop to metal, often claim that whatever show they are performing in is “the best one,” it could be said without a doubt that the vibe created in this rather small venue was much bigger than the walls that contained it. The Texas-native band was alive with the dark and raw power that gives prog-rock/metal its unique sensation and feeling over other genres; the ebbe and flow of the four-man band’s energy emanated not only to the crowd, but worked so well with one another. Hawkins moved quickly to remove his hoodie, revealing not only his torso, but exposing more of the energy previously described. With the subwoofers so close to the crowd, cheers can often be quickly drowned out. Not with Nothing More.
Music is emotional for the listener when you’re working out, driving to work, or relaxing at home. However, until you see Nothing More in concert, you cannot fully grasp the band’s own emotion conveyed throughout a night of their performance. Spend the money and see them. Just like that jawbreaker in a candy store, one of their shows will leave you with your mouth open.