Nothing More Unleash Earthshaking Fury In Shepherd’s Bush

Still recovering from all the Valentine’s indulgence, it is another packed-out show at the London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire to see Texan sensation Nothing More unleash earthshaking fury. The excitement is palpable, and the audience participation remains at a fever pitch throughout.

Nothing More

O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024

Words: Dany Jones

Photography: Manuela Langotsch

Gone are the days of the debauchery of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Nothing More looks in fantastic shape as they emerge on the stage.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

You can tell the lengths artists go to to keep fit these days. They ensure longevity with a healthy diet and follow a strict fitness regime to get stage-ready. Add to that the gift of nature, and you have the likes of frontman Jonny Hawkins.

Often compared to the late Jim Morrison, the singer resembles a supernatural creature of divine perfection.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

The band have returned to UK shores for the continuum of their Spirits tour, which has seen them in North America for the last quarter of 2023.

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Notorious for their grand entrance and for not wasting a second, they take no prisoners to the notes of the explosive Let ’em Burn, which sees Hawkins launching across the barriers onto the audience.

The momentum keeps going with the suit. Do You Really Want It? Here, all hell breaks loose, erupting into one massive, crazy moshpit.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Guitarist Mark Vollelunga goes to town on the wah wah pedal while a surrounding effect of spellbinding vocal harmonies envelops us.

At this stage, the singer pauses to pay tribute to the supporting bands. Hawkins then proceeds to greet the audience with a warm salute and with the promise of a new album release.

Fresh out of the studio with the new single If It Doesn’t Hurt and the fourth song in the live set, this is needless of any introduction. The Texan quartet are visibly thrilled at the response they get when the crowd returns back to them every single lyric.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Mesmerizing are the more reflective numbers like the iconic Jenny, dedicated to the singer’s troubled sister, and Fadein/Fadeout, this time written for his father, where a massive chant lifts in the air.

Equally, the Empire is alight with the twinkle, provided by mobile phones these days, waving along to the enchanting refrain of I’ll Be Ok, and offering a truly spine-tingling moment.

In this day and age, it is rare to find true, genuine, uncompromised talent and a depth of meaning in the lyrics that stem from lived personal experiences one has the courage to stand naked and expose to the world.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

After the trials and tribulations the artists saw during the pandemic when touring came to a halt, and the future was dramatically uncertain, the band navigated some difficult times following a personal contention that saw the singer involved in a domestic with controversial allegations.

Yet they find a way to channel that into their music, this way turning even the darkest of times into sheer artistry and returning propelled by a brand new fire.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Nothing More have racked up several hits along their prosperous career, and the heavy loads are aplenty. Anthems of the likes of Spirits, Tired Of Winning or Face It see the crowd in an absolute frenzy of more circle pits, moshing and endless crowd-surfing.

The band are great at involving the audience as, ultimately, it is all about that unspoken bond between the artist and their listener. They incite them to finish choruses, follow cues on clapping, waving, and even jumping while they take turns to launch into the crowd and simply attune to its energy.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

It’s a pity that one of their most iconic songs, Turn It Up Like (Stand In The Fire), gets omitted again from the set. It is disappointing not to hear its poignant lyrics and the true testament that it is of the sign of times:

“All my friends are dead, our brain’s being bugged by the media
Get outta my head, outta my head, put me in a microwave
Push all the buttons at the same time, Rage!”

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

The ending of the set list is marked by a truly epic moment with the explosive This Is the Time (Ballast).

Hawkins reminds the audience that they do not believe in encores. However, they will play this last song, giving it absolutely everything they have. As expected, the place literally combusts.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

The band seem to have retired the Scorpion tale on this tour. Yet the climbing performance at the outro has been replaced by the catharsis generated by the entire band jumping on the rails and unleashing a drumming frenzy amidst the crowd.

It is at this point that we are reminded of Hawkins as the former drummer of the band and of what an accomplished musician he also is.

It was a superb performance from the Texan foursome who, once again, managed to wow us with their gracious poise, stylish approach and a bucket load of energy.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Despite Hawkins experiencing technical issues with his in-ear monitoring system, he has not missed pitch once. Showing the grit and adaptability of a true pro, he has managed to gauge a flawless vocal performance regardless.

The band have been incredible, with Mark’s guitar wailings enveloping us into enchanted melodies, meaty riffs and blistering solos, backed by the onslaught of skilled rhythm provided by the dynamic duo Anderson / Oliver.

A final moment of reflection along the exiting notes of Toto’s Hold The Line, and one wonders how the Nothing More phenomenon isn’t huge just yet.

But a thing is certain. For this band, the only way is up.

Nothing More - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - 15 February 2024
Nothing More – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 15 February 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

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