By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
When I learned that alternative hard rock giants Nothing More was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards a year ago, I was over-the-moon for them because I always believed in their music and potential as a live act. Alas, they did not walk away with a gramophone trophy (I feel they were robbed of Best Rock Album), but I feel that because they were recognized for their collective genius on their record The Stories We Tell Ourselves, Nothing More has become a major staple in the rock scene today. Last year, they both headlined their own tour during the winter, and then opened for Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch during the summer. Both times I saw them, they continued to put on an amazing spectacle of a show. It is now 2019, and they are not done yet. They are headlining a new tour, dubbed the Truth Tour, and they are bringing along OC metalcore giants Of Mice & Men, rap/metal outlaw Hyro the Hero, and post-hardcore preachers Palisades. They stopped by the Belasco Theatre in Los Angeles, which is where I covered Amaranthe and Jonathan Davis. So, Matt, my Lady of Rock Melanie, and I head over to seek out the truth from Nothing More.
First up was Palisades, a post-hardcore outfit out of New Jersey. Funny fact, I actually caught these guys last year, when they opened for Jonathan Davis at the Belasco. This time around, they are fresh off their recent release, Erase the Pain, and are looking to ease our pains with their style of hardcore rock. Frontman Lou Miceli Jr. was a beast on the microphone, with a touch of melodic softness in his voice. There were some intense and eclectic guitar riffs and solos that were performed beautifully by lead guitarist Xavier Adames and rhythm player Matthew Marshall. Palisades had an interesting mix of hardcore rock and electronic music, two styles that differ from each other a lot, but they make it work, especially on their new album. Their set was a mixture of tunes from both Erase the Pain and their 2017 self-titled album, which included “War,” “Better Chemicals,” “Aggression,” “Ways to Disappear,” “Vendetta,” and “Erase the Pain.” Palisades were better this time around, and it will not be long until they embark on their own major headlining tour.
Full Palisades gallery below:
Up next was my boy, Hyro the Hero. Initially, alternative rock group Badflower is part of this tour, but they played a separate show at the El Rey Theater because of the release of their debut record, OK, I’M SICK (show review by Sienna), so Hyro brought his rap metal swagger to the Belasco. He has been on a tear lately ever since releasing Flagged Channel last year, where it has done well with fans and critics. Fresh off of his tour with the Butcher Babies, Hyro swung for the fences with the opener, “Devil in Disguise.” He was full of rage and aggression, hurling around the stage while laying down his flow, which to me sounded like a combination between Tupac and Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine. His band conquered our ears with brutal nu metal/rap punk sound. All of songs came from Flagged Channel, and they included “Locked, Loaded, Ready,” “Get the Fuck Up,” “Live Your Fucking Life,” “Let the Snake Show,” and his hit single, “Bullet.” Just watching him, I got tell the fans were getting off by his words. Hyro the Hero speaks nothing but the truth, and he was at the right show to spread his truth.
Full Hyro the Hero gallery below:
This will be my 3rd time in about 2 years seeing my OC brothers, Of Mice & Men. Last year, they reached new heights with their 2018 release, Defy, which is their first album since the departure of founding frontman Austin Carlile. I have mentioned this before, bassist/vocalist Aaron Pauley has stepped up to the plate and taken the group to further horizons. Their brutal metalcore nature sunk into the eardrums of all the metalheads at the Belasco. It was a tight squeeze in the front, but fans were determined to crowd surf and mosh to Of Mice & Men’s heavy duty tunes. Phil Manansala, sporting a LeBron James Lakers jersey, rips it up with his vigorous solos, while Alan Ashby pumps out infectious rhythmic riffs. Valentino Arteaga continues his monstrous prowling behind the kit. From “Warzone” to “Defy,” “O.G. Loko,” “Would You,” “Unbreakable,” “Instincts,” and “Sick,” Of Mice & Men keep getting better each show I see them at. During the set, they performed their newest single, “How to Survive,” and it is a fucking gut-wrencher, a preview of their new record which is said to be heavier than Defy. Either way, I am excited for the next adventure Of Mice & Men takes us on.
Full Of Mice & Men gallery below:
A white curtain appears in front of the stage. The room goes dark, and on the curtain, a projection of the word “Truth” appears. Next, a silhouette of Nothing More frontman Jonny Hawkins walks out, spray-painting Nothing More’s logo on the front before climbing up a pole. All the members appear, the curtain drops, and the place erupts as soon as “Let ’em Burn” plays. Like the mystical creature the Phoenix, Nothing More rose up like a ball of fire, ready to slay us with their set. Hawkins covered half of his body with black paint, looking like a cross between Finn Balor and William Wallace. He is arguably one of the best modern day frontman in rock ‘n’ roll today. Guitarist Mark Vollelunga is a master at performing bombastic alternative metal licks, while bassist Dan Oliver was a might of strength with the bass beats. Ben Anderson is dominate on the drums, wailing with progressive flair. The Stories We Tell Ourselves have done wonders for the band, putting them up there with the greats like Rush, KISS, Motley Crüe, Pantera, and Led Zeppelin.
Throughout the hour and a half performance, Nothing More spoke their truth of aggression, love, despair, and redemption. From “Christ Copyright” to “Don’t Stop,” “Go to War,” “Do You Really Want It,” “Still in Love,” “Mr. MTV,” “Jenny,” “Fadein/Fadeout,” “Ocean Floor,” and “This Is the Time (Ballast),” the Belasco Theatre turned into a madhouse. Hawkins went to war the entire night, never once slowing down his heart-rate. During the show, Nothing More played a new song off their last album that has not been played on previous tours, “Funny Little Creatures,” which has become a hit with the fans. When the band performed Skrillex’s “First of the Year (Equinox),” Hawkins activated the Scorpion Tail, creating digital electronic sound effects that makes the song more effective. While riding the Scorpion Tail, Nothing More dove into Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” and I am sure Freddie Mercury was smiling from Heaven with flamboyant joy. Hating encores, the group finished the night with “Salem (Burn the Witch),” where Hawkins, Oliver, and Vollelunga each banged on their drums, which is always the best way to close out their show.
Full Nothing More gallery below:
Nothing More has given L.A. fans the truth, and we took it into our hearts as well as our ears. The only thing that could have made the night better is if they brought out the “Bassinator,” which they did not this time. Of Mice & Men are still a brute force on stage, Hyro the Hero bust a flow with his dynamic rapping, and Palisades electrified our hardcore souls. The whole night was driven by heavy rock passion, and my Lady of Rock was in awe of Nothing More’s epic night. It was an extraordinary night for us all. To Nothing More, Of Mice & Men, Hyro the Hero, and Palisades, I salute you. Horns up!!!