Nothing More bring Stories to Manchester Music Hall
Reviewed by Brandon Hanks on
September 4, 2018
Nothing More & Bad Wolves at a sold-out Manchester Music…
Nothing More & Bad Wolves at a sold-out Manchester Music…
Nothing More bring Stories to Manchester Music Hall
Nothing More & Bad Wolves at a sold-out Manchester Music Hall
A paradigm shift in music has happened and we have Nothing More to thank for that. A band from San Antonio Texas is now responsible for what seems like one of the biggest transition in the industry to date.
Jonny Hawkins, Daniel Oliver, and Mark Vollelunga founded the band back in early 2003. The story of Nothing More, however, is one that many local bands can relate to “making it”. Who doesn’t want to get a record deal or tour the country? The world? The guys in Nothing More had that very same vision, but it wouldn’t come without trials or hard times, even the rare but not unheard of lineup change to launch this very versatile and unique band into stardom!
The story goes as such: Jonny Hawkins wasn’t always the lead singer of the band. In fact, he was the drummer before we were introduced to Ben Anderson, who now helms the drum kit. That’s right, Jonny went through some changes in his life that could not be ignored, leading him away from the drums and bringing him to the front of the stage as their lead singer. The uniqueness of Jonny’s writing and range of his voice meant Hawkins would bring something very different and fresh to the stage.
The sound of Nothing More has been heralded by many, as it is one that definitely stands out with the pop-alt-rock mesh vibe they have. If you should enter a venue and see one of their shows, you will quickly find just how energetic of a performance they can deliver. A live show that is fun, emotional, fast-paced and highly enjoyed by fans and newbies alike.
Let’s fast forward to 2017. Nothing More released the dynamic album The Stories We Tell Ourselves, an ambient, yet transparent record that has garnered three Grammy nominations: Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Go To War”, and Best Rock Album. A Grammy nomination in this category doesn’t always happen for the “true rockers”, as the genre tends to get overlooked these days (in my personal rock-loving opinion). You can look up any live video of the band and the one thing that will be the same is the intensity. Every performance given is fueled with high energy and a level of commitment few artists can bring to every single show.
Joining Nothing More on this tour is Bad Wolves. Fresh off the heels of releasing their debut album Disobey, Bad Wolves look to unleash their own personal brand of chaos into each and every fan’s face while they finish out this year touring schedule with a bang. You might be familiar with the band by hearing their version of the hit Cranberries song “Zombie”. Tommy Vext and the rest of Bad Wolves were set to record this track with the powerful Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, however, due to her tragic passing, the band took to recording the song without her, donating a $250,000 check to her family in her honor.
Bad Wolves offer so much to the music scene with their sound and stage presence that is a perfect fit for many different tours. One thing is for sure: this band is one not to be overlooked or missed.
The anticipation for this show was big. The actual show was bigger. Much bigger. Getting the opportunity of a lifetime, local Lexington band Indigo Storm was the first to take the stage and get the crowd warmed up. It should be noted that this band was not your typical rock openers. Indigo Storm consists of three 18-year-old guys looking to make their mark in music. I’m sure we will see much more of these young and talented rockers in the months and years to come!
All the way from Tempe Arizona, Eyes Set To Kill took to the stage to keep the Lexington crowd energized. Led by the amazing Alexia Rodriguez, Eyes Set To Kill gave a performance that complimented the night’s opening act.
They were able to keep the perfect flow of energy and power going. This show was on pace to be one of the best Manchester Music Hall would have for the year so far!
As the venue staff worked alongside the bands and touring crew from Eyes Set To Kill and Bad Wolves, I asked fans if they were having any fun. One fan said, “Hell yes, this is the best day ever! I love Nothing More and Bad Wolves!!” The night seemed to never end, in the best way possible. With every passing band, I anticipated each second and song from everyone on the night’s bill. Music truly brought everyone out to Manchester Music Hall and brought us all together to rock out to some of the sickest bands touring this year!
With dark blue stage lights and eyes set to the front, band members from Bad Wolves took to the stage to begin their onslaught of musical tyranny. “Officer Down” would be the band’s opener and my personal favorite song from them. Tommy Vext ran on stage, jumped up, and began singing “I’m sayin’ hands up, don’t shoot” as the lively Lexington crowd sang along to every word of this powerhouse song. Vext and his Wolfpack were in a whole other world, burning through each song with such visceral and intense passion, the likes of which I had never seen before. Vext spoke about a fan who was dealing with some health issues and wasn’t able to make it to the show, commenting, “It broke my heart when I heard the news, I will bring you with me in spirit and let the entire building feel you here with us.” He went on to bring their photographer on stage as they are also making a film called Breaking The Band. Vext would ask us all to say hello to his new friend who couldn’t be with us on this momentous night, so he could include it and show her how much she was loved and missed. This was truly a heartfelt gesture by Tommy and the rest of the band.
Shifting gears the band introduced the final song of the night, explaining what it meant to be able to perform this song in front of thousands of people every night in honor of the late Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries. “I want you all to turn your lights on your cell phones and light this fucking place up to she can see all of your beautiful faces and hear your amazing voices sing this to her!”
Light it up they did! House lights off, only the ambient light of a sold-out Manchester Music Hall crowd and the light of O’Riordan’s legacy remained seen as Bad Wolves began their song. This was especially moving for Vext as he was visibly moved by the response he received performing this one. If you are still unfamiliar with who Bad Wolves are after this show, you weren’t paying attention.
One of the industry’s leading examples of passion and perseverance was soon to be on stage. Grammy Award Nominated Band: Nothing More. Crew and stagehands lit the ramps up as the band made their way to the front of the stage. Ben, Daniel, and Mark took their respective places and began their intro to “Do You Really Want It” off of their most recent album The Stories We Tell Ourselves, while Jonny waited for his moment to make his presence known in true Nothing More fashion. The chords grew more chaotic and simultaneously Jonny ran on stage as the song began in perfect synchronicity. “DO YOU REALLY WANT IT?!” exclaimed Hawkins. The frantically enigmatic band was already giving everyone their money’s worth and more!
Nothing More has always been heralded as delivering the most intense and high energy shows. This one would be another for the books in that category. “Lexington, do you want your MTV?”
“Mr. MTV” began to play and we all lost our minds (don’t judge me)! This one is a headbanger for sure! The versatility of their sound is something to be witnessed live.
Slowing things down, the band showed their softer side with their song “Just Say When”. Emotional, powerful, and heartfelt, the fans all oozed with the same emotions.
The band even gave us a unique bass solo in a contraption made by the band’s bassist, Daniel Oliver. Oliver, Vollelunga, and Hawkins placed Daniel’s bass on a swiveling machine that allowed them all to play on it with their fingers and yes, drumsticks.
We were “Ripped Apart” met the “Fat Kid” and “Faded In/Out” and even went to war. The rollercoaster of blood pumping fun and excitement you get from this kind of show never seemed to stop, and we all were just fine with that.
Trekking right along Jonny explained the meaning behind their song “Jenny”, as it started to play. Hawkins got to the middle of the song and brought out Tommy Vext from Bad Wolves to finish the song with him. This was a momentous occasion for all who were there. The two titans of their bands clashed in beautiful and hard-hitting fashion. Hawkins grateful for Tommy joining him got an even bigger pop from the Lexington fans who clapped extra long for that one!
“This Is The Time” to prepare for the moment many knew about, but for first-time attendees of a Nothing More Show, some did not. Hawkins brooded on his knees mentally preparing himself as well as other for his charismatic and feverish performance on this song as he jumped on yet another Daniel Oliver contraption “The Scorpion Tail”. A device that allows Hawkins to enhance and contort his voice as well as his body while allowing him to reach 15 feet in the air riding the beast and delivering one of the best concert experiences of all time in just one songs moment.
Nothing More is a band that does not believe in encores.
“We would rather tell you this is our last song than waste your time, pretending to be this band we’re not, so this is our last song, and it’s called ‘Salem’. Lexington, Thank you so much for allowing us to be here, we will be back!” The band gave this one everything they had and then some. Lexington fans were all buzzing from the show as everyone exited the most premiere venue in the state, Manchester Music Hall. There aren’t many more opportunities to see this show as the band will soon go back out with their run with Five Finger Death Punch & Breaking Benjamin. Come to a Nothing More show, you won’t be sorry!
Brandon Hanks is a photojournalist hailing from Owensboro, Kentucky. Brandon started his obsession with photography dating back to 2001. Since getting his first taste of the music industry in 2016 with Nothing More, he has since worked with some of his favorites to some of the biggest names in music: Black Stone Cherry, Highly Suspect, Bush, Skillet, Green Day, and Scott Stapp. "If you were to tell me I'd be doing this (concert photography) with the artists I've worked with in my first year, I'd call you a liar," said Hanks. Brandon's fire and willingness to adapt to any setting and environment while being able to take on any challenge thrown at him makes him a force and a future in this industry looks brighter with every show. "Grateful, Humbled, Unbelievable, Rise Up." All words Brandon lives by.