Wage War and Nothing More at GLC Live at 20 Monroe in Grand Rapids, MI

Nothing More and Wage War whip fans into a frenzy on their co-headlining North American tour with support from Veil of Maya.

It is a warm spring day in Grand Rapids, MI, and fans are lined up early for tonight’s concert to stake out a spot on the rail for their favorite bands. When the doors open, many also head straight to the merchandise stands to gobble up shirts, posters, drum heads, and other merchandise. The popularity of hard rock and metal seems to be growing every year, and the three bands tonight have been working the concert circuit for years, putting out great music, and growing their fan bases.

The venue is packed, especially on the floor where it is shoulder to shoulder, almost to the back exit doors. Anticipation is growing for the bands to hit the stage. When the lights dim, the crowd cheers as Veil of Maya takes the stage and goes right into “Tokyo Chainsaw.” With the stage densely lit in deep hues of red and some occasional backlighting, the band looks mainly like silhouettes. Lead vocalist Lukas Magyar works the stage from side to side, getting the fans engaged and leading them in clapping and waving during the set. It does not take long for some moshing and crowd surfing to begin. Guitarist Marc Okubo and bassist Danny Hauser whip their hair around, which makes Danny’s look like it is on fire as the red light hits from behind. Their set includes several songs from their latest album [m]other like “Artificial Dose,” “Godhead,” and “Red Fur,” which features some soaring vocals by Lukas. They also play several non-album singles including “Viscera,” “Outsider,” and “Outrun,” which features some rapid drumming by Sam Applebaum. Before “Mikasa” from their 2015 album Matriarch, Lukas asks the crowd to “run in a circle” and a large circle pit opens up on the floor. It is a hard-hitting opening set and they have certainly got the crowd fired up for the bands to come.

Next up is Nothing More who have been together for over 20 years, outside of drummer Ben Anderson who joined back in 2015. Their shows are always high on energy and with the crowd tonight, it should be yet another wild one. Leading with the first single, “If It Doesn’t Hurt” from their upcoming Carnal album, they waste no time taking the energy back up as crowd surfing starts up again and many fans sing along to the song. On stage, bassist Dan Oliver who is sporting sunglasses, jumps about the stage and is smiling while doing it. Never one to stand still, vocalist Jonny Hawkins jumps, spins, and animates the songs with arm gestures, while his curly hair flies about. He has to be one of the fittest and hardest working lead singers out there today and he will also join the band showing off his drumming skills during the set. After “Let ’em Burn,” they play the heavy “Don’t Stop” which finds guitarist Mark Vollelunga in the pit, letting a young girl strum the strings. Mark seems to be having as much fun as the fan with a huge smile on his face as he returns to the stage. The new tune, “Angel Song,” gets the fans clapping overhead, and during “Go to War” the crowd surfing really picks up.

Following “Tired of Winning,” Ben Anderson goes into a drum solo and is joined by Jonny. Ben is a powerhouse of a drummer as he crushes the cymbals and toms with every beat. After the heavy new single “House of Sand,” they play a fan favorite, “Jenny.” It is always an emotional song that Jonny wrote about his sister and which many fans can relate to. The next song is another one that hits home called “Fadein/Fadeout.” Nothing More has a knack for writing songs that may be about something personal to them, in many cases. However, they are topics that pull the fans in, and also are just great songs to listen to musically. They wrap up their set with “This is the Time (Ballast)” which has fans bouncing, headbanging, waving, and crowd surfing. Before it is over, Mark, Dan, and Jonny get into the pit and stand on short ladders, with the fans holding a drum while Jonny pounds it. That is surely one way to get close to and connect with the fans. It is another awesome live performance by Nothing More that leaves the fans wanting more.

Wage War from Ocala, FL is ready to keep the party going as they take the stage and tear it up with “Stitch” and “Low” which has smoke shooting into the air. As has been the theme all night, the crowd surfers keep security busy up front and a mosh pit is also going on the floor. Meanwhile, other fans just rock out, headbanging and putting their horns in the air. Led by vocalist Briton Bond, they have the fans fully engaged, and he makes sure of it throughout the set. Rhythm guitarist Cody Quistad handles the clean vocal duties on songs like “Gravity.” Songs such as “High Horse” and “Godspeed” really crank it up and have the floor bouncing. Slowing things down a bit, they play “MAGNETIC” from their forthcoming album Stigma, and follow that up with “Prison.”

Before “Teeth,” Briton says, “Grand Rapids, it’s time to bang some heads” and the fans oblige. In fact, the whole band also headbangs during the song. It also features some guitar squeals and leads by Seth Blake, and drummer Stephen Kluesener and bassist Chris Gaylord lay down the rhythm and solid low end. “The River” also features some guitar shredding by Seth. Following “Alive” and “True Colors,” they play a major banger in “Death Roll.” Briton kicks it off by saying, “I want to see the whole room spin,” and, of course, a large circle pit starts moving on the floor. A new heavy song “Nail5” keeps the fans amped up before they play one of their most popular songs, “Circle the Drain,” which has fans singing along. Briton exclaims, “This has been our best Grand Rapids show to date. Thanks for making it special.” They close it out with “Manic” which starts with Briton delivering the vocals in an almost rap-like fashion before it takes off. During the song, the fans sing out “Manic” at key times. Before leaving the stage, Briton states, “That was awesome. We’ll be back.”

What a great evening of metal and hard rock by all three bands.

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About Gary Pahlow 61 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.