Nothing - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Nothing - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

Maybe it’s just me but it feels like there’s a distinctly nineteen nineties vibe to Nothing’s gig at the Brudenell this evening, from the Nirvana-esque lettering visible on the bands merch stall t-shirts to the smoke that fills up the poolroom, recreating the heady days of pre-gig chain smoking. Is it really 2016? Am I really in my thirties?

The support act, Leeds’ very own Long Body certainly seem somewhat indebted to the days of plaid shirts and Mudhoney LP’s as they launch into a storming set of enthusiastic grunge-pop.  Comprising of Hayley Smith and Will Cook the two-piece deliver a set crammed with explosive, mosh-worthy lo-fi delights wrapped in fuzzy distortion. Smith’s guitar is smothered in a layer of Nevermind-esque reverb while Cook’s drumming provides the simple, hard hitting backdrop that completes the duos nostalgic yet brilliantly energetic formula.

You have to go a little further back when it comes to Philadelphia’s Nothing, with 1991’s Loveless LP by Irish shoegaze phenomenon My Bloody Valentine surely providing some inspiration for the bands thunderous yet dreamlike sound. Yet there’s nothing particularly nostalgic about Nothing. Having recently released their second LP, Tired of Tomorrow, the band continues to combine their love of shoegaze with a level of energy more readily associated with hardcore.

It’s a sound that works particularly well live. The bands dense wall of fuzz ploughing into the Brudenell crowd as they unleash the sublime and melancholic wonders of recent single, ‘Vertigo Flowers’ with its warning to “watch out for those who dare to say/ that everything will be ok”. The strange thing being that it’s just that kind of zen-like reassurance that the songs cascading guitars seem to be offering.  The subject matter may be dark at times but live the songs provide a satisfyingly euphoric rush.

‘A.C.D. (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)’ combines the bands thick, heavy guitars with an irresistibly melodic hook while the angst-ridden sounds of ‘Eaten by Worms’ is introduced as a song about having “bad teeth and being a bad person”. It’s the latter that arguably proves to be the seductive and pulverising heart of darkness in the bands impressively intense set.  

There’s a harder edge to the band’s sound than the shoegaze label would imply, with Dominic Palermo and Brandon Setta’s guitars providing layers of head-spinning noise. The songs are certainly cathartic with the performance acting as some kind of sonic exorcism, effectively taking a pedal board of effects and a shit load of distortion to hefty themes of anxiety, illness and regret.  

Near the end of the gig the band play a loop of a particularly melancholic Richard Brautigan poem, (“it’s so nice to wake up in the morning all alone and not have to tell someone you love them when you don’t love them anymore”) before throwing themselves into another head-nodding, fuzz-laden assault.

All of this might seem a little heavy were it not balanced out by the primal, sweaty thrills that these songs provide. Palermo’s lyrics might delve into some pretty dark areas but ultimately it’s the feedback drenched salvation of rock ‘n’ roll that Nothing offer up tonight. Hallelujah!

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