By Isabella Dionne
“Tonight: Nothing More and More” read the marquee of The Sinclair on Tuesday night. The Cambridge venue was just the fifth stop on this year’s Monster Energy Outbreak Tour, and Nothing More—a band twelve years old and counting—has certainly broken out into the rock scene, bringing memorable performances to every stage they’ve graced since their 2014 breakthrough album, Nothing More. Tuesday was no exception.
The show began with Separations, a metalcore band from Atlanta, Georgia. Starting their set with “The Upper Hand,” the five-piece immediately showed their promising talent with vocalist Will Crafton’s ability to switch between growled verses and an impressive vocal range during choruses. Separations played three more songs before closing their set with “Dream Eater,” the title track of their debut album set for release on October 2.
The spotlight quickly shifted to Turbowolf, an alternative rock band hailing from Bristol, UK. Supporting their 2015 sophomore album, Two Hands, Turbowolf’s set featured a diversely-influenced sound. Lead singer Chris Georgiadis’ lighthearted banter and energetic demeanor engaged the audience from the very beginning, and the crowd remained responsive and enthusiastic throughout Turbowolf’s seven-song set. The band’s instrumental sound ranged from punk to metal to electronica, but their live performance was nothing short of excellent, featuring punchy basslines, upbeat percussion, and guitar licks dirty enough to rival those of White Stripes-era Jack White.
The third and final opener for the Outbreak tour was The Color Morale, a post-hardcore band from Rockford, Illinois. The band was added to the lineup shortly before the tour began—British alternative metal band Marmozets were initially slated to perform, but had to drop off the tour after their lead singer broke her knee. Still, The Color Morale attracted a surprisingly large number of fans for the night, and all eyes—and ears—were on lead singer Garrett Rapp as he and the rest of the band dove into “Burn Victims,” the leadoff track from their 2013 album, Know Hope. In true metalcore fashion, Rapp’s screamed verses and sung choruses carried fans through a wild set of crowd-surfing, moshing, and fervently shouted-back lyrics all the way through their final song, “Strange Comfort.”
Nothing More at last took the stage, kicking off their set with “Christ Copyright,” an incensed and intense track from their self-titled album. From the beginning, lead singer Jonny Hawkins’ vocal talent was impossible to ignore. But the twist? Hawkins can play the drums. In fact, every member of Nothing More can play drums to some extent, and this was made clear when Hawkins started “Christ Copyright” by drumming on an intricate, motorcycle gear-inspired kit that remained at center stage for the duration of the show. Hawkins, abound with passion and energy throughout the set, often stood on the snares of the kit to sing portions of songs.
The band’s self-titled and most recent album features biblically-inspired lyrics laced with themes of mistrust for society, opposition to conformity, and the coldness of reality. All of this became evident as the band played harsh and powerful songs like “First Punch” and “The Matthew Effect” before moving into the raw and emotional “I’ll Be OK,” which lead singer Jonny Hawkins dedicated to former drummer and founding member Paul O’Brien. O’Brien quit the band for personal reasons just before the Outbreak tour began and was quickly replaced by Ben Anderson.
After performing the equally somber “Here’s to the Heartache,” the band returned to their fiery tone with songs like “Friendly Fire” and “Sex & Lies.” But they took the energy level of The Sinclair to a wall-shaking tier of enthusiasm when bassist Daniel Oliver broke into what became an incredible musical break during which he propped his bass onto a stand set in Hawkins’ drum kit and tapped out a solo with both hands. Oliver was soon joined by guitarist Mark Vollelunga and finally Hawkins, resulting in all three tapping out a bass medley while Anderson kept a vigorous drumbeat.
The four-piece played fan favorite “Jenny,” a dark and haunting song inspired by Hawkins’ sister, as well as hit single “This Is the Time” before bringing an absolutely explosive close to the night with “Salem” (The Few Not Fleeting), the only song of the set from an album other than their self-titled LP. Choruses of “Burn the witch!” rang throughout the crowd as all four members took to the drums, giving an incredibly stellar end to what had already been a more than impressive night.
After finishing the Outbreak tour and performing a number of dates in Europe and Japan, the band plans to return to the studio to record their seventh album. Nothing More is without a doubt one of the most talented up-and-coming live acts in rock and roll, and anyone with the opportunity to see them perform will leave the show anxiously awaiting their next tour.