“Why do you always see and review the same bands” you might ask? To that, I respond with a big ol’ fuck you because one, I’m easily entertained, and two, you’re not my real mom. Terrible humour aside, when a band’s got it, there is no counting how many times you can catch them and still be aroused by the entire ordeal. That and y’all ain’t giving enough love for opening acts! Nothing More passed through Montreal again this past Sunday (the 19th of August) at the ever gorgeous Corona Theatre, and I brought plenty of lube for the ordeal to come.
First up to bat is Phoenix, AZ’s four-piece Eyes Set to Kill. An easy description would be Halestorm meets late-stage scream/early stage “popcore.” Hints of heavy in predominantly commercially accessible attempt at metalcore. The live setting did not do this act any favours, unfortunately. All the vigour and enthusiasm you can ask for, but heartbreakingly unpleasant to the ears with the main culprit being guitar tone/mixing as well as vocal harmonies and projection. Though the skill Is lingering in their composition, the delivery lacks, typically keeping safe on open top string chugs, and, again, commercially accessible vocal patterns without a particular flare or even chemistry between the two present voices. Recorded efforts, however, do the act a little more justice, and one can only hope that maybe this just wasn’t their night on the forefront. I’d be ashamed if I didn’t at least mention that I will always give a hat off for a band willing to take the risk of covering a Soundgarden song, but will likely put said hat back on when its “Black Hole Sun.” Awesome tune, but a safe bet over taking a chance.
Up next and to my absolute intrigue was recently acclaimed supergroup Bad Wolves. If you’re even half the metalcore fanboy as I admittedly am, then Disobey has been your jam since launch day, so getting to finally see these tracks live was intensely anxiety-inducing. That said, these dudes did not disappoint. Banging out “Officer Down” as an opener definitely got the desired reaction out of this particular pundit. Spectacular sound, riff work, vocal harmonies, crowd interaction (albeit cheesy at times), set choice, and performance synergy just made for an all-around stellar performance. All that praise being said, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I pulled a punch on one of my biggest faux pas, and that’s the fact that some particularly extravagant choruses were in fact dubbed (namely on a personal favourite in “Jesus Slaves”). Tommy Vext is without a doubt a world class voice and is absolutely King Kong on stage, but I noticed an intensity difference at times and soul-crushingly discovered that at times it was not his actual voice on stage. THAT SAID, this is, in fact, a common method used when a band writes a really outstanding chorus, and I, in no way, want to discredit the wear and tear that goes down on the road. Not to mention power ballad “Remember When” sounded fucking killer through and through. Catch this act and leave your dignity at home, it’s not welcome here.
Three and a half years ago, a young reviewing Jason caught San Antonio, TX’s Nothing More for the first time and was very confused. That confusion has subsided for the most part and believe you me, four live performances (three of which I’ve written about) and these cats have not disappointed me yet. “Do You Really Want It?” off of their critically spunked upon record The Stories We Tell Ourselves cracked this performance open like a can of whoop ass I’ll tell you what. The bells and whistles of stage setups are not the stuff that gets me going for any performance, I can appreciate it, but for a deaf dude, I’m all about sonic delivery. That is, of course, with the exception of the absolutely ridiculous designs and creations that Nothing More brings to the table. Unreal light and smoke shows, ridiculously designed drum and electronic apparatuses (don’t get me started on the Bassinator), and still a very shirtless Jonny Hawkins all contribute to the chaos that is one of rock and metal’s favourite live performances to date. Though this is a band with textbook perfection with live mixing, it could be found at times that the road has taken its toll both on the physical gear and members of this act, giving way to seemingly exhausted moments (notably on the impossible note found in “Let ‘Em Burn”) but this could easily be viewed as a sense of raw vibe found particularly in a live setting. Tired as these Texans may in fact be, I can tell you there wasn’t a dry eye on my face during “Just Say When” or “Fade in/Fade out.” Call it repetitive or call it consistent, but after all these times of catching this act live (granted, not THAT many) I still catch myself popping a gym short stiffy from time to time, and if that isn’t the true test of endurance for a band, then I don’t know what the fuck is.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy