Nothing More Concert Review Van Buren Theater 06-16-22
Nothing More Concert Review Van Buren Theater 06-16-22 By Roc Boyum
Nothing More’s long awaited return to Phoenix, Arizona finally arrived with a standing room only capacity crowd packed with crazed and ferverous fans lined up against the barriers that lined the stage at The Van Buren Theater on June 16, 2022. The anticipation for the return of NM had been building for the last two years and was now at a boiling point, literally and figuratively, as the AZ fans lined up outside in 115+ heat hours before the doors opened. This tour line-up originally included three great bands, Asking Alexandria, Atreyu and Eva Under Fire. Unfortunately, AA had to drop off the tour with their singer suffering from an ongoing throat infection; we wish Asking Alexandria and singer Danny Worsnop all the best, and hope to see them back on the road soon! In addition to Asking Alexandria missing the tour, the band Atreyu almost missed this show as their tour bus caught on fire in, or near Phoenix AZ. Fortunately, thanks to the swift efforts of the road crews for both Atreyu and Nothing More, there were no injuries, the fire was swiftly extinguished and the band made it to the venue on time.
Act one: The band Eva Under Fire who are fronted by Amanda Lyberg were the first to hit the stage, and the band hit the ground running as singer Lyberg fired up the audience from their first note. They presented a strong eight song set, with six songs from their “Others” LP, one song from their “Heavy On The Heart” LP and a rockin’ cover of Journey’s “Separate Ways”. Their cover of Journey’s “Separate Ways” isn’t necessarily a verbatim interpretation of the song, but seriously kicked ass none the less. Their ballad “Heroine” created a moment of solidarity in the venue as the entire audience held their arms up, moving back and forth with their cell phones lit up. Their cover of Journey’s “Separate Ways” closed out their powerful set.
Eva Under Fire are a band to keep your eyes on, so, get ready for the next time they come back around.
Check out Eva Under Fire Here!
Check out these pics of Eva Under Fire from The Van Buren Theater:
The Eva Under Fire Van Buren Theater Set List was:
Act two: The Los Angeles band Atreyu, hit the stage next. The band came onto the scene in 1998 and derived the band’s name from Michael Ende’s fantasy book “The Neverending Story”. Considering the duration that they’ve been on the scene and that they’ve been able to compile a catalogue of eight studio LP’s, it’s no surprise that these fans knew all of the band’s material and sang along to every one of their songs. They say that the life of a touring band is a great adventure, with a ton of stories to tell, and in this case; some stories are bittersweet. Such is the case in the story of Atreyu making their way to the “The Van Buren Theater”; a show that they almost missed out on due to the earlier mentioned bus fire.
The band brought the intensity of their tour bus blaze to the stage as they gave “The Van Buren” audience a blistering set of twelve songs that they culled from six of their eight studio LPs, with four of the twelve songs from their highly acclaimed 2021 release, “Baptize.” One of the highlights of their set was the song “Warrior” from their “Baptize” LP that had the audience nearly drowning out the band with their loud vocal performance. Perhaps it was the loudest sing along because the audience felt that the band themselves are true warriors or maybe it was collectively their favorite song; in any case; it was awesome to hear. Be sure to check out Atreyu live when they come back around.
Check out Atreyu Here!
Check out these pics of Atreyu from The Van Buren Show:
The main act; Nothing More: It was now finally time for the band that brought everyone to “The Van Buren Theater”; on this night, NOTHING MORE! Their thirteen song set was a combination of their classic material as well as some brand new unreleased music. The two new songs were “Turn It Up Like” (Stand In The Fire) and “Tired of Winning.” The other eleven songs included five songs from their self titled “Nothing More” LP, and six songs from their highly acclaimed LP, “The Stories We Tell Ourselves.” From the “Nothing More” LP we heard “Christ Copyright”, “MTV” “Jenny”, “I’ll Be OK” and “This Is The Time” (Ballast). From “The Stories” LP, they gave us “Let ‘Em Burn”, “Do You Really Want It”, “Tunnels”, “Don’t Stop”, “Go To War”, and the emotional, fan favorite; “Fade In/ Fade Out.” This time around, they gave the audience what seemed to be a more over the top performance, even more than their usual craziness; they unleashed a show that was an all out assault of sight and sound. The conviction in their delivery was almost as if this was their last show on earth; fortunately, they’ll be back out this fall with “In This Moment”, Brilliant!
NM opened their set with new music from their upcoming LP “Spirts” with “Turn It Up Like” (Stand In The Fire). “Turn It Up Like” embraces the creative writing style from “their “Stories” LP that embodies all the elements that NM are so well known for. This song has everything NM fans have come to love about this band; blazing energy, tons of attitude and uncompromising lyrics; in this case, a wakeup call about our current state of media and government brainwashing; gotta love that!
It was now immediately apparent that the band was collectively on fire like never before, and on this show they seemed to exude more of a “larger than life” persona than on previous shows, which gave their show a certain “Je ne sais quoi” which was truly awesome for sure! “Let ‘Em Burn” was the second song of the night that had the audience just as fired up as the band as they sang along to the lyrically resonating anthem in this song. The audience singing was so insanely loud, thus further proving that the band’s message is out there; so how can certain political and media groups still get away with spinning their lies; “all this smoke is burning my eyes”! The next song, “Christ Copyright” started off with that killer funky techno style beginning with drummer Ben Anderson and singer Jonny Hawkins who was drumming on the “Scorpion Tail” version of a drum kit.
The two drummers worked in tandem as they would catch all the main accents in the song’s beginning while each drummer would unleash a barrage of killer riffs in between the accents that gave the intro to this song a blistering new dynamic; ala the NM song, “Burn The Witch”. This song lyrically resonates with fans in it’s message about another form of brainwashing by organized religion who have their surreptitious form of trying to control people. The message is not against the concept of religion or spirituality per se, it is just relating to the organizations that are trying to control and/or suppress you for their own gain; you know who they are! In the middle part of the song where the band repeatedly shouts their defiant response to being controlled, with the words; we are not machines, we are not machines, the band momentarily paused with their insistent proclamation to connect with the audience! It was in this pause that the audience responded with their resounding cheers in agreement to the band’s message and the sentiment; we are not machines! The song ends with it’s aggressive musical ending and the lyrics; it’s not alright, it’s not alright, it’s copyright! Their message to think free, find the answers to your questions and don’t be a sheep, are now more relevant today than at any other time.
The next three songs, “MTV,” “Do You Really Want It” and “Tunnels” are all brilliant songs that were delivered with an uncompromising musical assault while Hawkins would make a connection with the fans on an individual basis. Throughout their show, Hawkins would catch individual fans in his searing stare that would have them momentarily caught in his gaze like a deer in the headlights before he would spin off across the stage with a force that was tornadic and manic at times. Following “Tunnels” was the beloved song “Jenny” off their self titled LP with it’s message that makes a strong connection with the fans. The song’s story is about Hawkins‘ sister and her self indulgence and mental struggles that, engulf her life. The lyrics really hit home with many fans and with it’s sentiment that resonates with people on a deeper level than most songs can. The passion of the audience singing seemed to echo the feelings of desperation that Hawkins relates in the song. For anyone who is dealing with family members that are emotionally and or mentally lost; try not to give up on them unless your disregarded efforts, leave you with the need for distance from them as the best course of action for everyone.
“Don’t Stop” and the Grammy nominated song “Go To War” from their “Stories” LP were the next songs; and let me tell you, the audience brought it as much as the band did. After “Don’t Stop” the lights went down low and a recorded track played as the tension and excitement for the next song continued to build in the semi dark venue. Then in a momentary pause of silence, Hawkins appeared at the front of the stage; singing a cappella the opening lines to “Go To War”; this immediately became a choir with the audience joining in and throwing their horns at the band at the repeated lines, “Let’s Go To War, Let’s Go To War” . As impressive as that was, in the middle of the song there are the lines , “do we feel safe” that vocally rise in intonation and then repeats with a greater emphasis on the intonation rise. For these vocal parts, Hawkins would conduct the audience like a conductor with his/her batons , as if conducting a Symphony Orchestra – that would guide the audience with the vocal inflections. The audience followed every move by conductor Hawkins, this had the entire Van Buren as one collective choir and was really something to behold. This is something you have to experience to fully understand and appreciate; a truly amazing exchange of electric energy between the band and audience: mind blowing!.
The song “I’ll Be Ok” from their self titled LP was the ballad of the night that replaced “Just Say When” on previous tours and gave the band and audience a chance to take a break from the frantic pace that had relentlessly been steamrolling forward, up to this point. The last three songs of the night were: first, the new track, “Tired of Winning” followed by the emotional fan favorite, Fade in/Fade Out and then a stellar version of “This Is The Time” (Ballast).
For the last song “This Is The Time” Hawkins presented the beginning of the song by sitting at the front of the stage in the guise of a moody low light vibe for his delivery of the “Ocean Floor” which is the lead-in to “This Is The Time.” This was an intimate delivery that was simply the calm before the storm; then Hawkins jumps up and yells; everybody up! These words kick this song into high gear and basically; all hell breaks loose!
Guitarist Mark Vollelunga, bassist Daniel Oliver and singer Jonny Hawkins ran around on the stage to the extent that this had to be their last song, as everything they had to offer, was unequivocally laid out on the floor. Before the song concluded, there was a momentary break in the song where Hawkins yelled out; thank you Phoenix!, we’re Nothing More! They concluded the song in a true NM fashion with everyone on stage playing drums and Hawkins jumping up on the “Scorpion Tail” machine while raising it to it’s highest level for the grand finale. With eight staccato chords and screams, the song came to it’s inevitable conclusion with Hawkins imparting these words; “we love you Phoenix; we’ll see you next time!”
Nothing More, their name says it all, they give you 1,000% and a one of a kind show that will leave you as worn out as the band and enriched with a musical and kinetic experience that will be forever etched into your memory; in a good way! Go see NM when they come out in the fall of 2022, it will be one of the best events you’ll ever experience, period!
Pre-oreder their upcoming LP “Spirts” and check out Nothing More Here!
Check out the Nothing More Van Buren Photo Gallery Here!
The Set List From The Stage Was: