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NOTHING MORE Deal an “Ace of Spades” in Sacramento, CA with OF MICE & MEN and PALISADES [Photos & Show Review]

While making their way around the US on “The Truth Tour,” Nothing More came through Sacramento for an evening at the Ace of Spades with support from Of Mice & Men and Palisades.

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While making their way around the US on The Truth Tour, Nothing More came through Sacramento for an evening at the Ace of Spades with support from Of Mice & Men, and Palisades. The third night of the tour also marked the third SOLD OUT show in a row.

It’s not uncommon for venues to be on the emptier side during the first set of the night. But, for this stop on the tour, Sacramento showed up for Palisades and packed the floor early in the night. This was the first time that I’ve had the pleasure of catching this crew and it was exciting to see them support their recent album, Erase The Pain, that dropped just before the end of last year. Their sound was fuller and heavier than I had become familiar to hearing when listening to their music on my headphones – the performance was solid and they truly warmed up the crowd. As Palisades left the stage, I could not believe that the venue was about to fit more people into that space.

It’s been a hot minute since the last time I had seen Of Mice & Men. A bit over a year ago, the band put out a short documentary on YouTube giving fans an inside look into their routine, while also highlighting what was in store as the group worked to rebuild. Whereas the previous lead vocalist used to move around much more, Aaron Pauley stands center for the duration of the set while multitasking singing and playing the bass line. The most recent lineup change has changed the performance in terms of how dynamic the artists are on stage but it has not impacted the energy that they deliver. The crowd was roaring for the entire set and it was refreshing to see Of Mice & Men dominating with new energy.

Are you ready to “Go To War”? Well, Nothing More certainly is!


With three years in between the self-titled album in 2014 and The Stories We Tell Ourselves in 2017, can it be inferred that a 3-year cadence may be what we can expect from Nothing More — which would bring us new songs next year in 2020?! Vocalist Jonny Hawkins confirmed that this is the last tour the band will be taking in support the last album after the tour ends, the band will return home at the end of March to take the next step will be starting in on writing their next one.

From the first notes of “Let ’em Burn” to “Go to War” and the cover of Queen‘s “We Will Rock You,” Nothing More didn’t slow down for a minute. I quickly understood the hype and attention that they have amassed – they put on a flawless performance that left me amazed. I’ll add that the Skrillex “First of the year (Equinox)” cover proves that this bad is a force to be reckoned with – but I’ll just leave it at that so as not to spoil the fun for anyone who hasn’t witnessed this band live. If you fall into that category, don’t sleep on getting out to a show on this run.

An additional special guest on the tour is To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), a “non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” (source: TWLOHA website). WIth Nothing More having a strong focus on promoting mental health in their songs, it was great to see them supporting an organization like this. In addition to bringing visibility to their efforts, $1 from each ticket sale throughout the tour is being donated to the organization.

The album The Stories We Tell Ourselves dropped on September 15, 2017, via Eleven Seven.

Nothing More made note that the end of the set was nearing with some refreshing news. They would not pretend to end the set and leave the stage before returning for a preplanned encore. The band doesn’t believe in the fake departures of encores because they give it all from the start

Nothing More’s The Truth Tour has truly taken a top spot on the list of 2019 tours.

Remaining Nothing More Tour Dates:

03/06 – Grand Rapids, MI @ 20 Monroe Live
03/07 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
03/08 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
03/10 – New York, NY @ Playstation Theatre
03/11 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theater
03/12 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
03/13 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
03/15 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
03/16 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
03/17 – Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor
03/19 – New Orleans, LA @ TBA
03/20 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
03/22 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
03/23 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre

Folk

Morning Bear Reveals Latest Single “A Simple Understanding”

John Runnels unveils the revival of his indie folk project, Morning Bear, with the release of new single, “A Simple Understanding”.

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Morning Bear

Denver raised and now Copenhagen based singer/songwriter John Runnels unveils the revival of his orchestral indie folk project, Morning Bear, with the release of a deeply personal and emotionally charged single, “A Simple Understanding.” Marking the band’s return after a six-year hiatus, Morning Bear’s latest offering provides an intimate glimpse into the mind of its creator, navigating through the profound challenges of loss, resilience, and self-discovery.

Characterised by highly dynamic compositions, Morning Bear’s music weaves together the calm and delicate stylings reminiscent of artists like Bon Iver and Jose Gonzalez, while embracing the complexity and depth akin to the Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens. Featuring soaring vocals and unconventional arrangements, including cello, violin, piano, and more, Morning Bear crafts a textured landscape behind pop-influenced hooks.

The catalyst for Morning Bear’s resurgence lies in the transformative journey of band leader John Runnels, who, after facing a series of devastating events and losses, found solace and inspiration amid the chaos. The global pandemic, the loss of three close friends in separate tragedies, a severe injury, and battles with anxiety and depression marked a period of uncertainty for Runnels, but he emerged stronger and more resilient.

“A Simple Understanding”, a continuation of the first releases from Morning Bear after a long hiatus, showcases Runnels in an intimate and vulnerable performance, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. Released at the time of year where it is most difficult for mental health, John recorded this in a single, live take during a rainstorm in a small garage in a village outside of Andover, UK, and the song captures the raw emotion of Runnels’ struggles and experiences. The lyrics delve into themes of self-loathing and finding hope in the darkest moments of life.

He says “People are often their own worst critic. ‘A Simple Understanding’ speaks to the self-loathing you feel when you have hit rock bottom. How do we find something to hold onto when we’re in the darkest points of our lives?

Morning Bear invites audiences to join them, to embrace vulnerability and share the power of music to heal and connect. With echoes of early Bon Iver in its acoustic performance, ‘A Simple Understanding’ is a brutally honest and delicately executed piece of songwriting that is sure to resonate with listeners, John Runnels bears all in this captivating and emotionally charged offering that sticks.

Morning Bear "A Simple Understanding" single artwork

Morning Bear “A Simple Understanding” single artwork

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Album Review

Blind Channel – ‘Exit Emotions’ [Album Review]

While ‘Exit Emotions’ (Century Media Records) contains many of the tropes from the golden age of nu-metal, it still feels refreshing. Blind Channel continue to move from strength to strength.

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Blind Channel ‘Exit Emotions’ album artwork
Blind Channel ‘Exit Emotions’ album artwork

Cast your minds back to 2021; it was a dark time for humanity, with the entirety of the world still gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, countries going in and out of lockdowns, and the entertainment industry being brought to its knees. Yet, in the midst of all of this, mankind fought on, with some events managing to take place. One of these was Eurovision, which has delivered, over the years, some incredible winners and given lesser-known artists global recognition. 2021 saw Måneskin take the crown, but on their heels was Finland’s own Blind Channel in sixth place with their song “Dark Side.”

The Finnish nu-metalers already had a handful of records to their name but it was Lifestyles of the Sick and Dangerous that contained their aforementioned Eurovision entry and made the world really sit up and take notice. With its mix of metal, hip-hop, synth and a touch of glam, it was a breath of fresh air from the European region better known for its output of, let’s say, the (much) heavier side of metal.

With Exit Emotions, Blind Channel now have their eyes focused on bigger things. Whilst they have broken through to the mainstream beyond their borders, it’s not enough for the six-piece, as they explore what it means to truly be on the global stage.

Exit Emotions kicks in hard with “Where’s the Exit,” with its distorted nu-metal beat laced with some techno elements followed swiftly by distorted vocals mixing rap and metal styles seamlessly. Dual vocalists Joel Hokka and Niko Moilanen bounce off each other in a symbiotic way, indicating how in tune with each other these guys can be. “Where’s the Exit” feels like it throws everything the band can portray at the wall from their varying influences, and while, on paper, a mix of metal, rock, hip hop, techno, and synth, if difficult to get right, Blind Channel nail it with absolute precision. Several songs on this record follow this formula, like “Deadzone,” “Wolves of California,” and “XOXO” (amongst others), and if the entirety of the record kept to this, whilst fun to listen to, it would run the risk of becoming samey. Thankfully, Blind Channel does mix things up throughout.

Blind Channel, photo by Christian Ripkens

Blind Channel, photo by Christian Ripkens

Keeping it Surreal” maintains a relatively heavy approach but dials it back a tad to give the hip-hop elements more of a chance to shine and deliver a more emotional element with the band, highlighting the surrealness of their current position. This is followed by the extra-emotional “Die Another Day.” The tune opens with a piano melody and slows the entire pace of the record, and moves into ballad territory. Hokka and Moilanen are accompanied by RØRY, ensuring the sensitive lyrics portrayed are emphasized to the max. Despite the relative negativity of the lyrics, the trio somehow makes this extra melancholy tune drive forward positive feelings.

Exit Emotions is a great follow-up to Lifestyles of the Sick and Dangerous, and although it contains many of the tried and tested tropes of what was delivered in the golden age of nu-metal, it still feels refreshing. The band has gone from strength to strength since their respectable placement at 2021’s Eurovision, which demonstrates they have lots more to offer than just their hit song “Dark Side.”

Read our interview with Joel Hokka and Niko Moilanen at last year’s Download 20.

Exit Emotions Track Listing:

1. Where’s the Exit
2. Deadzone
W3. olves of California
4. XOXO
5. Keeping it Surreal
6. Die Another Day
7. Phobia
8. Happy Doomsday
9. Red Tail Lights
10. Not You Bro
11. Flatline
12. One Last Time… Again

Run Time: 35:15
Release Date: March 1, 2024
Record Label: Century Media Records

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Metal

Silent Planet Bring Their “Superbloom Tour” to Worcester Palladium [Photos]

Silent Planet brought their “Superbloom Tour” to Worcester Palladium with support from Johnny Booth, Aviana, and Thornhill.

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Silent Planet on Feb 20, 2024, photo by Christina Altamirano
Silent Planet on Feb 20, 2024, photo by Christina Altamirano

Silent Planet brought their “Superbloom Tour” to the Worcester Palladium on February 20, 2024. They had Johnny Booth, Aviana, and Thornhill join them on this fun adventure.

I had no idea what to expect during Johnny Booth and was happy with the outcome. Johnny Booth is a five-piece hardcore band from New York. They performed a seven-song setlist with a few cuts like “2040,” “Full Tilt,” “Asymmetrical,” and “Deep Fake.” Johnny Booth stands out with their crushing melodies and multi-genre influences.

Following Johnny Booth was the Swedish alt-metal band Aviana. I had heard a few songs off Spotify, but I’ve never seen them live, and I loved every second of their time! The band wore masks and cloaks, so you can’t see anything under it. When they opened with “Rage,” the crowd chanted “Rage” with frontman Joel Holmqvist. Other songs were “Illuminate,” “My Worst Enemy,” “Oblivion,” and “Obsession.” This is definitely a band worth checking out!

Next was the Aussie alt-metal band Thornhill. If you know Thornhill, then you know you’re going to have a good show! They played eight songs, consisting of “Arkangel,” “Viper Room,” “Coven,” and “Casanova,” and closed with “Where We Go When We Die.” During their set, you can see fans all over having fun and dancing to the music.

Lastly, Silent Planet! The band incorporates a screen in the back for stunning visuals to accompany the songs being played. They performed mostly new songs off their latest album, Superbloom, and other beloved songs like “Panic Room,” “Native Blood,” and closed with “Superbloom.” Towards the end of their set, they did a jam session, which was fun to watch! During their encore, they performed their popular song “Trilogy.”

The “Superbloom Tour” is coming to a close this week. If you got to see it, then you know you got to go to an awesome show. Here’s to the next one!

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