Nothing More: That’s It, That’s the Title.
Disclaimer: Headliner In This Moment did not allow photos for their set, so I will not be covering them here. I understand that this could have been a decision made to avoid creepers and creep shots, but photos are kind of half the fun of these articles. Sorry guys.
So, I had no idea what I was getting into with this show. I’m a big fan of Sleep Token, and have enjoyed several Nothing More tracks, but when it came to openers Cherry Bombs, I wrongly guessed that they were some local pop-punk band, of which I’m sure there are many that share their name. Needless to say, they were the opposite of that.
I entered the freshly named Admiral to the tune of Holy Roller, a now classic Spirit Box track, and was aghast to find a troop of ghoulishly glamorous gals gyrating about in neon masks. What I had foolishly assumed was a local opener’s set was actually a full-on burlesque show, filled to the brim with gorgeous ladies, high octane acrobatics, and lots of fire… Oh and booty.
After their group dance piece, a large rope was dropped from the rafters at the center of the stage. An ominous yet intriguing sign of things to come. A mysterious woman in a white rabbit costume then crawled her way across the stage and proceeded to climb the rope with a strength and elegance I could only dream of having, swinging around 30 feet in the air performing dangerous acrobatics.
Another highlight of their set was when a horned seductress strutted onto the stage waving a fiery fan around. She was joined by her legion, sharing her hellfire, ritualistically summoning the bowels of hell. It was mesmerizing seeing them wave around their flaming fans like a peacock performing a mating ritual and let me tell you, it was hot. I was a few feet away from the performers having been in the photo pit, and I was starting to sweat from all the heat. I can’t imagine what the performers were going through. That’s dedication!
Honestly the $50 price of admission is worth it just for Cherry Bombs, as usually you would need to travel to see this kind of show, and usually at twice the price. With the delightfully dangerous acrobatics, highly choreographed dance numbers, and eyebrow raising, and singeing fire-play, I had the best time photographing their set and took some of my favorite photos of all time.
You can pick up tickets to one of their shows and give little Billy his first sexual awakening at their website www.cherrybombs.co.
Up next was Sleep Token, a band whose praises I’ve been shouting since their debut album Sundowning in 2019. Sleep Token is hard to describe. It’s like pop-metal, but like a 60-40 split with the larger portion being crooner indie pop. It’s like if Adele had a progressive djent band with hip-hop elements. It’s somehow all that and none of it, genre blending at its finest. Sleep Token is simply Sleep Token, sexy, satanic, Sleep Token.
This was another set where I wasn’t sure what to expect. Not too much is known about the performers as they prefer to remain anonymous, but they are said to worship an eldritch god known as “Sleep” who presented themself/themselves (I’m not about to assume the gender/s of a being or collective of beings which exist beyond the human comprehension, only knowable to the human consciousness peripherally,) to the singer who goes by the name “Vessel”.
The cult of a band was clad in black with every inch of their identities masked, including their faces, with Sleep’s white sigil brandished upon their faces. Special reverence was placed upon Vessel, who shirtless, sported a tattered cloak and a bone white jawless mask, with Sleep’s sigil scrawled in red, presumably in blood. One can only assume his skin was blessed, painted black as the night by the Sleep themselves, and… Oh no! He’s HOT!
The whole set was alluring, with Vessel seducing the audience with melismatic crooning and inviting lyrics, begging you to take a part in the ritual, with notable highlights being their track “Descending,” which features a trap beat expertly played by the drummer, (clearly his favorite song to perform,) and hit tracks Alkaline, and The Offering, the latter of which had the entire audience chanting along, entranced by the power of Sleep.
I had a blast with Sleep Token and am now a firm follower of Sleep, complete with seeing their restless nightmares in my dreams.
You too can wake yourself to the horrifying nature of this horrible existence by visiting www.sleep-token.com. Check out their cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.” It’s seriously the goofiest fucking thing I’ve heard in a long time, and I absolutely adore the band for covering it.
Last up on the docket was Nothing More, whose singer Jonny Hawkins (great name,) was recently recovering from dislocating one of his ribs while piledriving drummer Ben Anderson (mid,) or something to that effect. I imagine it was off the top of their 14-foot-tall mechanical monstrosity known as the “Drumtron”/ “Bassinator” which acts a Fury Road-esque hydraulic drum machine/bass machine that the Hawkinator uses to demolish his enemies on his road to Summer-Slam… I guess it makes fun noises too.
I got to give it up to Jonny, this was his first show standing since the incident, and he put on a hell of a show despite probably being in a lot of pain. You can see him holding his ribs in a lot of the shots, and his ribs are wrapped with what I assume is an ice pack or heat pack underneath, and… Oh no, He’s HOT!
Poor guy still climbed up that scorpion looking monstrosity and rocked the shit out of it. Low key, that thing is terrifying. To start, it lied flat on the ground with its tail curled up like a scorpion, then the techs pushed a button or lever and it shot up, bouncing a little as it settled in, and when they were done with it they pushed the button again and it fell back to being flat, an act that if not done carefully could probably kill someone as that thing has to weigh close to 500lbs.
The crowd was nuts for the band. When I was in the photo pit, the band set the crowd off with their song “Let em’ Burn I’m grateful the barricade was between us. The crowd was like crashing waves from an angry sea, sometimes the height of a luxury cruise ship. There were three young ladies who seemed to be triplets who seemed to live and breathe Nothing More who were a part of the crashes. Seeing them bond over their experience brought me way back to my teenage years bonding over bands like Disturbed and Linkin Park with my siblings. Anyone who thinks rock is dead isn’t paying attention.
The high point of the night was seeing the crowd sing every word of “Jenny,” which must have been a nice break for Jonny as he would dip out of phrases and let the crowd sing.
Want to learn how to do a suplex? Head on over to nothingmore.net. There was a chair involved at one point too but looks like Jonny is feeling a bit better.