Standing in the dark in the small Cleveland, Ohio club, waiting for Nothing, you can feel the tense excitement rising by the minute. Frankie Rose takes the stage and almost instantly entrances those gathered with stark geometric visualizations projected on the screen behind her.
If you were into dream-pop in the early 00’s you know that voice from Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and Vivian Girls. There is no mistaking the sweet dreaminess of Frankie Rose. As dreamy and sweet as her music is, it’s more like a slightly twisted remake of a fairy tale. One where the princess grew up in the real world and not some fantasy castle made of sugar, , particularly as she launches into her dazzling new single, “I’ll Be Your Lightning”.
Her reverb-soaked vocals and driving bass lines fuse perfectly. This musical queen who has an embarrassment of musical riches, (seriously, what can’t she do??) hit the crescendo of her set with her stunning cover of The Cure’s “A Forest” and had the crowd eating out of her dainty hand. The quick 30-minute set went by lightning-fast and by the end, the crowd was left unsatiated and begging for more.
These were not random walk-ins. This crowd was comprised of die-hard Nothing fans, as evidenced by the branded t-shirts they had donned and the press of the crowd against me as I tried to negotiate a good shooting position.
Unassuming, the band took the stage and launched right into “Hymn To The Pillory” off of their Guilty of Everything album. (I told myself it was because I wore my Guilty of Everything necklace that I had just happened to find in a charity shop. Prove me wrong.)
Frontman Domenic Palermo remained intense, almost stoic throughout the set, a sharp contrast to bassist Aaron Heard, whose joy to be playing was written all over his face. The crowd was all-in from the first note; moshing and stage diving. Clearly, they had been waiting for this and were ready. None of this even slightly phased the band. You’d think a large man running onto the stage in a Browns jersey would register at least a small reaction. But no, an almost imperceptible half-smile played on their lips while they watched him launch himself into the crowd as they continued playing as hard as ever.
Playing mostly songs off of their latest album, The Great Dismal, there were a couple of crowd favorites from previous albums thrown in, which amped up the crowd even more, if that was even possible. “Dead are Dumb” and “Vertigo Flowers” from the Tired of Tomorrow album had the mass of people singing along.
Closing their set with “Catch A Fade”, this band had intensely given their all. Sweat dripping into their eyes, broken guitar parts strewn around the stage floor, they took their leave only to be demanded back to truly close out with A.C.D. And instead of leaving the stage again for a well-deserved break, the band stayed to shake hands, pose for pictures, and greet the throng of fans lined up to just be close to them.
Nothing reminded me of every reason I love live music. There’s nothing quite like hearing your favorite songs cloaked in the shared energy of others that share your passion. The feeling that you have more insight into the music as you listen to the creators of this magic feels nothing short of miraculous. This is one of those concerts that will mark time in your life. “Remember that night we saw Nothing?”
Nothing are: Dominic Palermo (vocals, guitar), Aaron Heard (bass), Doyle Martin (vocals, guitar), and Kyle Kimball (drums).
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