Review: Nothing More/Twelve Foot Ninja @ Mr. Smalls Theater, Pittsburgh, PA 9/16/16

Posted by on September 20, 2016

Nothing More Live

This past Friday, September 16th, Texas rock group Nothing More came through Pittsburgh along with the Aussie prog-metal Twelve Foot Ninja, as well as Dinosaur Pileup, and To Whom it May. It was  the second stop on the tour, and with a pretty full house, Pittsburgh made it’s love known. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of pizza on Friday nights, I was unable to get out of work until 8 P.M., thus forcing me to miss Dinosaur Pileup and To Whom it May entirely. However, that did afford me just (barely) enough time to hightail it down to Millvale and catch the final two bands

Twelve Foot Ninja

Having missed their last Pittsburgh date, this was the real draw for me for this show. Their debut full-length album Silent Machine was excellent, and this time they were touring in support of their newest album Outlier. Fortunately I made it into the venue and only missed one or two of their songs, and was instantly hooked into the show. Their live sound, even with me being as close to the stage as I was, was excellent. Much of their music relies on intricate rhythms and hard transitions, so it was a great relief to see a band on stage that was going to hold it’s own again their headliner.

Having heard none of the new album before the show, I was excited to see what they had been working on. Out of the new songs they played, the tracks “Collateral” and “Monsoon” both felt instantly likable. Overall, they are an excellent band to see live, and probably my favorite band to emerge from the djent vein of progressive metal both onstage and off.

One last fun thing I noticed was that they had Go-Pro type cameras everywhere. There were cameras attached to instruments, mic stands, and Kin’s actual microphone, all catching some pretty awesome shots from what was an excellent set.

(Setlist Unavailable)

Nothing More

It’s no big secret that I was excited to see these guys doing their own headlining tour, and bringing Twelve Foot Ninja, another love of mine, along with them didn’t hurt the hype train. It’s also no surprise really, as a band titled “Nufin Mor” is referenced in TFN’s video for “One Hand Killing,” that these two would eventually be touring together. Regardless of how it happened, I’m just glad that it happened, and unlike the last time I saw Nothing More, there was going to be no drastic upstaging this evening. The Ninja was good, very good even, and I was coming into this with very high expectations for Nothing More. Now that the initial shock of discovery has passed, it was time to see how they have grown in the last year and a half. For this show I came prepared: I bought some albums, I learned the songs, I was ready. I did not leave disappointed.

When the old curmudgeons of the rock & roll and metal world say “there are no new rock stars,” or that “rock music is dead,” they show how obvious it is that they have not been looking very hard. Led by the energetic and charismatic vocalist Jonny Hawkins, the band brings a hardcore rock & roll energy to the stage that is so rarely rarely captured.

They brought out all of their tricks from the last time I saw them, but they were no less amazing to watch the second time around. Nobody expects the bass solo to be as fun and crazy as it is the first time they see it, and the same can be said about the drum solo duo from their closer, “Salem (Burn the Witch).” Their music, while I enjoy it, becomes amplified on stage (literally and metaphorically speaking), and takes on a life of it’s own.  Their music appeals to the fans of more accessible hard rock music, but they a stage presence to wow even the most desensitized metalhead. From the passion they bring to the quality of their sound, Nothing More is one of those bands I recommend everyone as a must-see act.

(Setlist Unavailable)


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