Nothing More, Of Mice & Men and more at Diamond Ballroom (2019)

Diamond Ballroom (Oklahoma City, OK, USA)

Nothing More, Of Mice & Men, Badflower, Palisades
I really didn't know what to expect from NOTHING MORE. I wasn't really familiar with […]
By Dave Nowels
February 28, 2019

I really didn't know what to expect from NOTHING MORE. I wasn't really familiar with the band or their music, other than a quick Youtube sampling. From small glance I saw more than enough promise to warrant catching these guys live on Thursday February 28th. The band brought their 'Truth' tour to Oklahoma City's Diamond Ballroom along with OF MICE & MEN, BADFLOWER and PALISADES. Despite the show being a work night for most, the lineup drew one of the better crowds I've seen at the Diamond in quite some time. Those in attendance were rewarded with a banner night of Metal and Heavy Rock.


Nothing More are hard to pin a genre label on. Perhaps Nu Metal fits, but it's a bit of Metalcore too. Some Progressive Metal as well. Call it whatever you want, its high energy, and captivating. Edgy yet accessible. The band calls San Antonio, TX home and features Jonny Hawkins on vocals and percussion, Mark Vollelunga on guitar, Daniel Oliver on bass and Ben Anderson on drums. Hawkins is a commanding presence. Your attention is drawn to him like eyes to a  beacon, as. You never seem to be able to guess what he'll do next. His vocals are equally magnetic. While powerful, they are also brooding and pensive. His intensity never seems to waiver. It's a teenage angst that's matured into an adult's sensibilities and understanding, but isn't willing to give up the battle.

There's theatrics utilized, both in props and no doubt some via personas as well. Highlights of the set were many.  The set opening "Let 'em Burn" set the expectation particularly high only to follow up with the equally potent "Christ Copyright". "Go to War" was memorable as was "Mr. MTV". The second half of the set never waivers as it seeks to intensify the audience's atmosphere sonically.  The reflective "Jenny" and the vastness of "Tunnels" set the stage for the closing medley concluding with "Salem".
No encore, none was needed.

The support acts were a varied mix musically, that managed to work well collectively. Of the three bands, OF MICE & MEN best musically suited the billing and supporting NOTHING MORE. Thus their positioning of playing before the headliner. OM&M are currently a powerhouse Metalcore quartet from Orange County, CA. From their opening salvo of "Warzone" and "Defy", they never relented. Bassist and vocalist Aaron Pauley taking his place center stage, with one foot firmly planted on a metal riser. To either side of Pauley are lead guitarist Phil Manansala and rhythm guitarist Valentino Arteaga, while Alan Ashby wails away at the kit.

The electricity created between the band and the audience manifested into the first mosh and crowd surfing of the evening. Besides the opening duo, highlights were "How to Survive" from the new Rise Records album of the same name, and the closing "You Make Me Sick". It was a fabulous and well received set and I look forward to catching up with these guys again.

BADFLOWER was perhaps the most intriguing band holding stage this night. Impossible to pigeonhole into a singular genre, if forced, I'd call them Heavy Alt-Rock with a bit of Punk tossed in. The band consists of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Josh Katz, guitarist Joey Morrow and the aggressive rhythm section of bassist Alex Esiritu and drummer Antony Sonnetti.

Between his charismatic air and guitar wielded backbends, Katz is a born frontman. The band has a unique feel, perhaps, dare I say, Hipster Metal in a way. But not the douchebag Hipster, rather the cool classic attitude of Hipster personified by bands like the Americana Hipster band HOUNDMOUTH. Perhaps not for everyone, but I found I liked them a lot. Playing in support of their new John Varvatos/Big Machine Label Group release, "Okay, I'm Sick", BADFLOWER won me over with the songs, "White Noise", "Heroin" and "Animal". I'm making it a point to check out their album ASAP.

Beginning the night music were PALISADES a five piece band from Iselin, NJ. The band is made up of vocalist Louis Miceli, guitarists Matt Marshall and Xavier Adames, Brandon Elgar on vocals and bass and Aaron Rosa on drums. For me, I struggled connecting with the band's direction. Musically and even vocally I liked most of what I heard. Ultimately, I just didn't connect with the almost "boy band" feel that made its way into every song. The only way I can describe how it felt to me was, take a crushingly heavy riff themed song and toss in a BOYZ II MEN verse somewhere in the middle.

Infinitely talented and defiantly creative, it just didn't appeal to me enough. No worries though, the vast majority of the audience approved, and I'm sure the band will take that over one grouchy set in his ways reviewer any day.

All things taken into consideration, it was a captivating, and daring night of musical adventure. As always, the Diamond Ballroom was the perfect host, while DCF Concerts brought the goods and warmed up a chilly February Oklahoma night.

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