Nothing More ©Mark Matson Please do not alter image
It’s an hour and a half before the doors open at The Ritz in the Ybor city section of Tampa Fl and a there is a huge line wrapped around the building. Even the security staff of the venue were impressed with the turn out at this point in time. Not many bands can get a crowd out in numbers like this. But, when Nothing More brings their high energy show to town, it’s a can’t miss event. Tonight, they also brought along Palisades, Badflower and Of Mice And Men.
Kicking off the show was New Jerseys own Palisades. This Hard rocking quintet had plenty of songs from their four album catalog to perform, including their latest release Erase The Pain. The first song that the packed house got to hear was “War” that came right off their latest release Erase The Pain. What a high octane start to the night it was. With better than half their set list coming from this album everyone got a great idea as to how good their latest release is. Of course, Palisades had to play their biggest hit to date “Letdown”, and if you were there you knew just how good a job, they did on that and the rest of their songs!
Following them up was Badflower. If there was ever a band that was destined for the big time, it’s them. Based out of Los Angeles, the raw talent and energy that they brought to the stage is something to be witnessed as it’s indescribable. The first song of their seven song set was “x ANA x” off of their very latest album Ok I’m Sick. What a perfect way for them to start their set and give the crowd a taste of their latest album at the same time. When they played their biggest hit to date “Ghost” the packed house was going nuts and singing along word for word. They closed out their part of the show with their first big song “Animal”. What a performance it was, it packed the same intensity, energy and passion as the record has.
Next up was Of Mice And Men. Continuing on with the theme of high energy bands, Of Mice And Men exploded on to the stage. Most bands struggle with the loss of their lead singer. But when original singer Austin Carlisle left the group, bassist Aaron Pauley slid into the role and the band never looked back. If anything, they developed a heavier sound that their fans ate up. They really showed their new found heaviness when they chose “Warzone” to start the night. During their performances of “Defy” and “How To Survive” a pit started up; ya they got that heavy! The final song they performed was ‘You Make Me Sick”. Judging by the sweat and intense looks on everyone in the crowd’s face, for sure they enjoyed their performance.
After a long changeover which included putting up a curtain to cover the stage, it would be soon time for Nothing More to close out the night. When the curtain finally dropped, lead singer Jonny Hawkins was standing on a ladder and was turning a siren. With flashing strobe lights the leapt into a high energy version of “Let It Burn” Throughout the performance Jonny Hawkins was in his usual attire. Just pants! Yes, no shoes, socks or a shirt, and half his body is painted black as well. Most of their set came from their Grammy nominated latest release The Stories We Tell Ourselves. Throughout their eighteen song set Jonny Hawkins redefined what high energy is all about. During songs he would hop on top of a drum setup just for him and grab drum sticks and play along with drummer Ben Anderson in perfect time. Then there were times he would climb up behind the band and sing from a cat walk setup above the stage. One of the highlights of the show was an emotional performance of “Fade In/Fade Out” a song he dedicated to all the parents there. If you have children and half a heart you know just how emotional this song really is. At one point during the show Jonny told the audience that a dollar of every ticket sold was going to The Head Count Foundation and To Write Love On Her Arms. To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit that presents hope, and finding help for people that struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide, which Jenna, Jonny Hawkins sister struggles with. The Head Count Foundation promotes democracy. It wouldn’t be a Nothing More show without the Scorpion tail, a four hundred pound fourteen foot tall custom made musical instrument that bassist Daniel Oliver thought of and made himself that Jonny Hawkins plays. From it he can play the drums built in, he can manipulate the sounds of his vocals and the guitars as well. It really is a sight to behold best in person. The final song of the night was “Salem” from The Few Not Fleeting album. Like every song in a Nothing More concert it was a visual feast as well as a great performance. During the song all the members of the band play drums that are positioned nearby them perfectly synchronized. Also, bassist Daniel Oliver does an amazing job helping out on vocals.
With four great bands like these in one venue on one night its no wonder the place was sold out. The high energy performances that every band brought to the stage turned what normally would be an amazing night into a one of a kind memorable night. For fans of these bands it would be smart to grab tickets while you can as tours like this don’t come along very often.
Of Mice And Men:
The Ritz Ybor: