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Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 20, 2017    
 
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Nothing More - Sound Control, Manchester (UK) - 10 December 2017

It was possibly the coldest night of the year so far in Manchester. Nothing More were playing the last of their four UK shows, ahead of trip to Belgium two days later. Sound Control is a compact little venue (similar in many ways to the Academy 3 room in Manchester) with a clear sound and the good attendance created a cosy atmosphere, meaning the cold was forgotten for a few hours at least.

The recent 'The Stories We Tell Ourselves' release has received some excellent reviews, in the process seeing Nothing More score Grammy nods with three 2018 nominations. With that in mind the band were keen to showcase a good selection of its songs during the seventy-five minute fifteen song set. Though they have been around for a while, it is the last two albums that have raised their profile and brought them to the attention of many looking for a musical fix with a difference. The Nothing More musical style is quite unique. It is highly percussive and the song structures are less than generic and ultimately quite challenging. Having said that, the hooks and melodies at the core of each song are intensely satisfying, high impact and very memorable.

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The first few songs played are all in-your-face, up-tempo and high energy, namely 'Christ Copyright', 'Let 'Em Burn', 'Mr. MTV' and 'Don't Stop'. The next portion of the show saw three people play one bass guitar at the same time and this has become something of a Nothing More trademark. It was a very visual concept and the only way to fully appreciate its intricacies is to track down some YouTube footage or actually go to a live show. Lead singer Jonny Hawkins is a Tasmanian Devil of a front-man who covered as much of the stage as possible with no apparent dip in vocal quality. He was a bare-chested focal point who demanded nothing but complete focus from the crowd. 'Go To War' (featured in the 'War For The Planet Of The Apes' movie) was about as commercial as Nothing More get, but the emotion drenched acoustic delivery of 'Just Say When' that followed is not far behind. Guitarist Mark Vollelunga and bassist Daniel Oliver, accompanied by drummer Ben Anderson, laid down a musical bedrock without any fuss or ego massaging eccentrics and the sound was enhanced and complimented by some atmospheric backing tapes.

When the set came to a close with 'Burn The Witch' (Nothing More do not do encores) it was with a bang and not a whimper. We were treated to a mini drum extravaganza (another Nothing More trademark) that highlighted the musical skills of the four protagonists on stage and emphasised just how something so technical can be performed with apparent ease. Train cancellations (due to the weather I'm guessing) proved to be an irritating end to the night, but could not overshadow the enjoyment of what had gone before. Nothing More have promised to return during the Summer of 2018 so maybe next time the temperature will be as warm outside the venue as inside – I can't wait.

Dave Bott

 

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