October 7, 2018 @ The Sinclair
Nothing’s twisted world of incarceration, violence, and melancholy colored their dark set, creating not only one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to, but also one of the saddest and most moving.
Shoegaze has always intrigued me. The genre includes bands from dream pop to aggressive punk, and Nothing has successfully been able to cover that entire range with their newest album Dance on the Blacktop – an album that completely grabs the listener and throws them into the life of Nothing’s Domenic Palermo. The band focused their energy toward this album as the show’s setlist and theme heavily revolved around Dance on the Blacktop’s dark themes.
The entire show was played in near-total darkness, supplemented only by small white lights that occasionally lit up the musicians. Nothing opened with a monologue about how life is nothing that flowed into ‘Zero Day,’ bringing the crowd into a wall of sound only possible with shoegaze. There was not a single moment of silence as reverb and delay carried the band from one song to the next. Instrumentals sprawled throughout the set, concluding with a hooded man coming on stage to complete the somber monologue that began Nothing’s performance.
More than half the set came from Dance on the Blacktop, which sounded as good if not better than the recorded album. The guitar’s tone and ability to move in and out of the spotlight was not a small feat and Palermo’s vocals blended beautifully into the background with layer upon layer of reverb. The highlights were the few older songs the band placed throughout the setlist. ‘Vertigo Flowers’ and ‘A.C.D.’ brought out the crowd from being in a hypnotic daze to a full-on mosh pit with many people running on stage to jump back into the crowd.
The set ended with ‘Eaten by Worms’. Palermo entered the crowd to sing the final lines of the song, bringing the most dedicated fans of the band together screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs. It was an emotional end to the final show of their long tour.
The show was one of the most memorable performances I have experienced. Nothing absolutely shattered my expectations of what is possible on a stage. The darkness, somber attitude, and pure dedication brought forth a wall of sound that impacted the entire room. Since the show, their music fills me with more emotion. Nothing’s songs now feel so much more connected to each other and I am starting to understand the art that Palermo is trying to show with his songwriting.