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April 9th 2023, Irving Plaza. Thousand Below, Crown the Empire and the unstoppable force that is Nothing More are about to take the stage. Not really MY personal favorite genre of metal / hard rock. But, after seeing a ton of Instagram videos of Johnny Hawkins on his self-made high-rise drum machine called ‘The Scorpion Tail,’ I had to see what was up. I mean this thing can go 14-feet into the air. Not sure Irving had that height though.
The lights dimmed and Thousand Below took the stage. They kicked off their performance with the title-track off their latest album, ‘Hell Finds You Everywhere,’ which instantly sparked energy into the patiently awaited audience. James Deberg, the lead vocalist, passionately belted out his emo-induced lyrics with a heavy rock vibe.
The setlist included hits like “Venenosa” and “Chemical,” and with each song the crowd amped up more and more. With that said, they definitely put on a good show, but it just wasn’t as hyped as I thought it should be. Playing with such big acts like Crown the Empire and Nothing More, the performance overall was just a little lackluster. Regardless, that shouldn’t excuse you from checking them out on all streaming services.
Next up, Crown the Empire, baby. They recently finished their 2022 ‘The Fallout’ 10-year anniversary tour, being one of the band’s biggest headline tours of their career. They even finished a leg supporting Ice Nine Kills on the ‘Knotfest Roadshow.’ They must’ve still been on that high ’cause they came out slaying with their new single “DOGMA.” With its heavy hitting catchy riffs, the song got the crowd into a frenzy.
Lead vocalist Andy Leo had a legit commanding presence on stage. I could’ve sworn he was 19 but when he mentioned going from his 20s to his 30s, I was shocked. I kind of want to know what he eats. I know a lot of metal dudes are vegan, so… who knows. He did have the audience in the palm of his hand though, leading them through a set that included “In Another Life,” which, on the album, features Spiritbox’s Courtney LaPlante. Definitely check out their newest album on all streaming platforms and be prepared to headbang. Please drive safely when listening.
Before we go into the last band, I would just like to thank all the super cool moms and dads that were at this show. I can’t remember if I ever saw so many parents in a venue. Some with their kids, some not with kids. I don’t know if it’s because the lead singer of Nothing More is a super shirtless hunk, or if the music just blends perfectly between both generations, but the age difference in this crowd was phenomenal. Now, on to other pressing matters, CELL PHONES! Come on people. Can we not just enjoy the show? I’ve never seen so many cell phones filming consistently throughout the entire night than at this concert. Even the crowd surfers were more into filming themselves than even caring about the band.
I came for one thing though, to see Johnny Hawkins slam the Scorpion Tail. Being a concert photographer you only get the first three songs to shoot the band. Well he didn’t play the Scorpion till the end, so I had to mosh my way in to get some shots. I say this like it’s a problem. It’s not that I love pushing people, so I found the first 14-year-old and rocked him to the ground. Being 37, I felt so strong. I’m joking, just in case you think I would actually do that. I know some people would.
Either way, what an INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE. This band literally comes out swinging. Spinning. Twirling. And with a clear mission. ROCK THE FUCKING AUDIENCE! Boy Howdy, do they. Now I know why there were so many moms….. And dads. Johnny is a beast. He literally is a non-stop entertainment rocket ship. From hits like “SPIRITS,” “Jenny,” and “Go to War,” the crowd moved along to wherever Johnny went. I mean this band has some legit die-hard fans.
The rest of the band was no less impressive, with guitarist Mark Vollelunga shredding, and bassist Daniel Oliver laying down thunderous grooves that kept the crowd moving. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, this whole night was live-streamed to the Nothing More fans as well. Absolutely amazing. Drummer Ben Anderson kept reminding me of Logan Paul and I couldn’t unsee it.
The band is truly a force to reckon with and the performance straight up blew me away. From how dedicated the fans were to the sheer intensity of the singer and his band. I will definitely see them live again and again just for the immaculate energy they bring to the stage.
Check out photos of Nothing More, Crown the Empire, and Thousand Below from their show in NYC via the gallery below. All photos by Dylan Lappin.
Supporting their latest album ‘Spirits,’ Nothing More will continue to tour North America through late May. Get all upcoming tour dates at nothingmore.net.
Crown the Empire:
Check out fan-filmed footage:
Upcoming shows at Irving Plaza:
04/13 – Carcass, Municipal Waste, Sacred Reich, Creeping Death
04/16 – The Black Dahlia Murder, Terror, Frozen Soul, Fuming Mouth
04/21 – Skinny Puppy, Lead Into Gold
04/22 – Skinny Puppy, Lead Into Gold
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