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Nothing More in San Diego

Photos by: Samantha Madnick

Words by: Rudy Flores

Just before the stage lights went down at the North Park Observatory on Thursday night, there was a chill in the air and a silence so loud it could pierce eardrums. Then, all of a sudden, Viking drums and chants roared over the speakers, each pounding of the drums sending shockwaves through the chests of everyone in attendance—a fitting feeling as it set the stage for Memphis' SLEEP THEORY, who were ready to give us one hell of a show! Vocalist Cullen Moore, guitarist Daniel Pruitt, bassist Paolo Vergara, and drummer Ben Pruitt opened the night with "Fallout." Their Rock/Metal-Core sound had us all captivated, as the charismatic frontman displayed amazing vocal range, sometimes reminiscent of R&B—like the good kind, akin to Jodeci's "Forever My Lady"—and then in the next breath, had us all banging our heads! In short, SLEEP THEORY WAS INCREDIBLE!

I swear, if this is any indication of the caliber of artists that we were going to hear tonight... LET'S GO! The U.S. Tour of Nothing More with SLEEP THEORY, and VEIL OF MAYA is off to a killer start!!

Up next... VEIL OF MAYA!! The hard-hitting Metal-Core four-piece from Chicago came out swinging, with frontman Lukas Magyar, along with Mark Okubo on guitar, Danny Hausser on bass, and Sam Applebaum on drums, giving us something to crowd surf and mosh to. Mr. Okubo's fast guitar riffs had us all engaged and could almost be a one-man show with how hard he goes on stage. Danny's hard baselines could be felt deep in our chests, as he made playing his 7-string bass look almost effortless, while Lukas' melodic tones and deep guttural screams commanded the stage. And let's not forget how Mr. Applebaum was putting in the work with the double bass! The way my legs would've cramped... oof! If you have the chance to catch them, DEFINITELY check them out!


As the lights dimmed for the final time, the crowd lost their collective minds as Seal's "Kiss From A Rose" played over the house speakers. Right as the first chorus finished, a blinding blast of light hit the crowd as one by one, Mark Vollelunga (guitar), Daniel Oliver (bass), and Ben Anderson (drums) walked on stage and got into position, followed lastly by lead singer Johnny Hawkins, donning "Nothing More" (LoL... get it?) than ripped black jeans and a bare painted chest. Promoting their upcoming album "Carnal," the San Antonio band (Hey, that's where I'm from!) quickly got down to business with "If It Doesn't Hurt," giving us all a taste of what the new record would be all about. Johnny was going full rockstar (and yes, you ALWAYS go FULL ROCKSTAR!) as he jumped into the crowd along with bassist Daniel, giving the people that "up-close-and-personal/VIP experience" from behind the rails of the pit. As he sang the ever-iconic line "I WANT MY MTV!" it brought back fond memories of when the aforementioned channel ACTUALLY played music and wasn't just a "reality TV" station.

Armed with a setlist also including hits like “Go to War” and "This is the Time (Ballast)," Nothing More was able to make an army out of all their loyal listeners and even recruited quite a few new fans, if the merch lines had anything to say about it.

All in all, everyone at The North Park Observatory got an outstanding show! Each band gave us everything and really represented their genres to the fullest! And even though most of us had to get up early for work the next day (myself included at 4 a.m... ugh ), we honestly couldn't think of a better place to be than with a couple of hundred of our closest friends, listening to loud music and having a ball!

Until next time... ROCK ON






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