Any rock fan that regularly attends live shows will tell you, there are just some nights you had to be there to believe. The May 10th Nothing More concert at The Lost Horizon in Syracuse, NY was definitely one of those nights. At a typical show, you’d have a few gate huggers up at the rail early, proudly claiming their territory before the crowd starts to get gnarly. However, this was not the case that evening. Prior to the doors opening fans were wrapped around the building, all eagerly waiting to get inside to claim their spot. So when opening act Hell or Highwater hit the state, the audience was already packed in and ready to be rocked. Although the crowd was largely unfamiliar with the group, they won them over early on with an energetic performance, heavy hitting tunes, and charming, down to Earth delivery. The band even stuck around long after their set to sign records and take photos with fans.
Next up was UK hard rock five-some As Lions, who played a handful of hits from their recently released album ‘Selfish Age.’ Watching a band with such a big presence in such an intimate setting was a true treat, one that attendees will be thankful for once these guys are inevitably headlining their own tours. While the boys slayed with songs such as “Deathless,” the best moment came when lead vocalist Austin Dickinson insisted that audience members embrace those on either sides of them, declaring that we are all lucky to be part of “one big happy metal family.” It’s no wonder that by the end of their set the audience was begging the band to play just one more song.
While sadly there was no time for an encore from As Lions, it was time for Black Map to hit the stage. The trio rocked their way through a sweaty 30 minutes of grit, belting out hits like fan favorite “Run Rabbit Run.” For those who have yet to hear the band I would compare them in style and delivery to Queens of the Stone Age, with a cool, easy flair amidst a backdrop of grunge inspired tunes.
Not so easy to describe however, is headliner Nothing More. I’ve personally seen the band three times prior under vastly different venues (including The Lost Horizon), and was blown away by their ability to adapt and rip the fucking floor off EVERY. DAMN. TIME. To say they give their all is an understatement. The members are energetic and soul baring, the music is heart pounding and dynamic, and while each show is different the results are always the same: A crowd left breathless and enlightened on what a real rock and roll show should feel like. Whether they’re playing radio hits such as “Jenny” and “I’ll Be OK,” fan faves like “Christ Copyright,” or new, unreleased tunes (they play a few on this tour), they give their all, and in turn get all from the crowd. When this band, or any band, is clearly committed to connecting with a crowd, it shows, and for at least those few hours we truly are one big happy metal family. Those moments make cramming into confined spaces and sharing personal space with strangers something to be celebrated when we might normally avoid it. It’s the reason that time after time they deliver That Rock Show that everyone is talking about the next day, the next month, the next year. It’s the reason the May 10th show in Syracuse was great, and why all the remaining Nothing More dates will continue to be great as well. So here’s to the heartache, here’s to the sore feet from standing for hours to be a part of something bigger. And here’s to bands like Nothing More, writing music to make memories to.