Following three Grammy nominations last week, flamboyant frontman Jonny Hawkins struts across the post-screamo landscape amid a storm of ferocious riffs
Nothing More frontman Jonny Hawkins has his top off even before the show has begun, but it’s not just to show off his toned torso, or a reflection on the furnace temperatures down in the moshpit. (The modest dimensions of the jam-packed Dingwalls mean Hawkins’ signature Giger-esque scorpion’s tail prop has been halved in size.) No, his semi-nakedness reflects – albeit unsubtly – Nothing More’s own barriers-down, scars-bared earnestness. This is a band that doesn’t do encores, Hawkins declares, because “they’re fake”.
But, while the post-screamo landscape is awash with frontmen pinning broken hearts to their sleeve tattoos, there’s a sophistication to Nothing More’s angst that raises them above the tumult-tossed pit. Hawkins’ lyrics essay familiar terrain – heartbreak, emotional disaffection – but the likes of Do You Really Want It?, with its sober hook “Everybody wants to change the world / But no one ever wants to change themselves”, and lacerating relationship tale Go to War skilfully buck the genre’s tendency to adolescent self-pity. Partly, perhaps, because of age – the Texans have been toiling since 2003, escaping obscurity only after Hawkins swapped the drumstool for the microphone on their eponymous 2013 breakthrough.
Nothing More review – muscular melodies and bare-chested bravado