Nothing More at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids, MI

Nothing More brings the ɥʇnɹʇ tour to 20 Monroe Live with support from Of Mice & Men, Badflower, and Palisades.

Opening the show is Palisades from Iselin, NJ.  They have been getting plenty of airplay of a few songs from their 2018 release, Erase the Pain. Several from it make the setlist tonight including the two opening songs “War” and “Shed My Skin.”  These hard-hitting songs get the early crowd amped up as singer Louis Miceli works the stage from side to side, throwing some jumps in too. Guitarists Matt Marshall and Xavier Adames provide the killer riffs and leads with drummer Aaron Rosa and bassist Brandon Elgar laying down a solid low end. They slow it down a bit with “Aggression” from their 2017 release, as well as the ballad “Ways to Disappear,” before cranking things back up with “Vendetta” which has the fans bouncing and waving. They close out their brief, but energetic set with the big single “Let Down” and the rocking title track from their current album. It’s a great start to the evening.

Badflower from Los Angeles, CA take the stage next and the fans greet them with loud cheers. They have been getting rave reviews for their recent February 2019 release OK, I’m Sick.  They kick off their set with the lead track “x ANA x,” a song about anxiety disorders that features some fast-paced drumming and edgy vocal delivery. Singer/guitarist Josh Katz is quite an animated frontman as he makes faces while delivering the vocals.

They run through “Drop Dead” and “White Noise” from the 2016 EP Temper before getting back to the latest album. Starting with “Die,” a slower groove that finds Anthony Sonetti smashing the drums hard. Next up is “Heroin,” a haunting song about a bad relationship for which they released a video in late 2018. The single “Ghost” has fans singing along again. It was a mainstay on rock radio for several months and hit #1 on the rock charts. It’s an emotion-packed song that tackles the subject of suicide and has helped many fans deal with their issues. “Animal” closes it out in strong fashion as guitarist Joey Morrow rips through some bluesy leads and thrashes his hair about, while Josh continues to sing with conviction.

California metalcore band Of Mice & Men get the fans fired up quickly as they launch into “Warzone” from their early 2018 release Defy and follow it up with the title track. Aaron Pauley leads the charge front and center as he pounds out the bass while letting out the harsh vocal screams. He is backed by Valentino Arteaga, who is laying down a furious beatdown on the drums. Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala tear it up on guitar with Alan thrashing his hair about throughout the set. The crowd is whipped into a frenzy as the crowd surfers start flowing over the barrier up front almost immediately.

They take it back a few albums to Restoring Force and play a fan favorite and one of their most popular songs “Would You Still Be There”, that has most of the crowd jumping up and down and singing along. An aggressive, brand new song “How to Survive” about overcoming being a target of hatred. Reaching even farther back, they break out “O.G. Loko” from the 2011 album The Flood that has Aaron’s vocals soaring with clarity. The first single from Defy, “Unbreakable,” continues the sonic assault with the rapid-fire drumming interlaced with searing guitar and a mix of clean and harsh vocals. The mix is solid and Aaron’s voice sounds great as the fans join in too on many songs.

Winding it down, Aaron keeps the crowd fired up and engaged as he leads them in some clapping before breaking into “Instincts.” Alan lets loose with some major shredding that has the fans cheering loudly and throwing fists into the air. They close it out with another popular song, “You Make Me Sick” from Restoring Force. These guys never fail to crank up the energy in the room and have thoroughly gotten the crowd primed for the headliner.

Continuing to tour almost non-stop since the release of The Stories We Tell Ourselves back in the fall of 2017, Nothing More keeps moving up to bigger tours and tons of airplay. The ɥʇnɹʇ tour finds them headlining and selling out many of the dates including tonight’s show. Things are looking rosy for this hard-working and down to earth band. A white curtain hangs in front of the stage and when it drops, singer Jonny Hawkins is cranking a siren while perched high on what looks like some kind of antenna. They come out of the gate on fire with a run through “Let ‘em Burn,” “Christ Copyright,” “Don’t Stop,” and “Funny Little Creatures.” “Christ Copyright” finds drummer Ben Anderson and Jonny both pounding drums into submission.

They finally slow down the pace a bit with the 2018 Grammy-nominated single “Go To War” and “Do You Really Want It?” from their latest release. Their setlist is loaded with songs from this album including the tender “Still in Love,” but several popular hits from the 2014 self-titled album make the list starting with “Mr. MTV” and the sing-along staple “Jenny” that deals with mental disorders. Jonny takes time to mention the two organizations with them on this tour – HeadCount and To Write Love on Her Arms. One dollar from every ticket sold will go towards the To Write Love on Her Arms organization. 

Jonny even makes a shout out to their pals in Three Days Grace, who are in town for a show the next night and are seated in the balcony. They play “Tunnels” and “Fadein/Fadeout” before moving on to the highly popular song “This is the Time (Ballast).” At this point, Jonny gets on top of the metal rig called The Scorpion Tail and rides it into the air. The band lays down the familiar beat of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” as Jonny leads the crowd in singing along. That transitions into a cover of Skrillex’s “First of the Year (Equinox),” with Jonny pushing and pulling levers that affect the sound, while smoke cannons shoot plumes in the air around him. The crowd loves it.

They close out the set with what has become a regular closer, “Salem (Burn the Witch).” This song has Jonny and Ben attacking the drums again and then Mark and Dan join the fun and play individual toms before holding them so Jonny can spin and play them. These guys really know how to entertain their fans and why they continue to grow in popularity. The fans once again let out huge cheers and screams and have gotten their money’s worth tonight.

NOTHING MORE
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OF MICE & MEN
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BADFLOWER
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PALISADES
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20 MONROE LIVE
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About Gary Pahlow 11 Articles
Gary is located in Rochester Hills, MI and has been officially photographing and writing concert reviews since early 2016. His main music interests are metal and hard rock, but he is also a fan of most genres including alternative, indie, jazz, and even some pop and country. When not covering or attending concerts, you can find him traveling with his wife or watching the Detroit Red Wings.

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