October 7 was the final date of Nothing’s album release tour for their third studio album, Dance on the Blacktop. The Philly shoegaze band was accompanied by Smut from Cincinnati, Big Bite from Seattle, and Swirlies, the iconic Boston band. It was a damp, chilly evening but the venue was packed for this impressive lineup.
Smut and Big Bite laid the foundation for a great night with their distinctive sounds. The musicians in Smut shared their melancholic shoegaze with the crowd, while Big Bite brought a grunge-tinged style à la their native Seattle. Both openers were acknowledged and appreciated by Nothing frontman Domenic Palermo. He said during Nothing’s set that “it’s tough to get four bands together and not have them want to strangle each other… It was awesome to have friends around for such a long time.”
Swirlies performed next. Formed in 1990 in Boston, Swirlies initially intended to be a Go-Gos cover band, but their music went in a different direction. Their sound remains iconic: loud, complex and spectacular noise. Their performance at the Sinclair was no exception. The band not only sounded great, but were also a pleasure to watch. They were having fun, especially the drummer: throughout the set, he was smiling and laughing, clearly having a blast. They had a sense of humor, too; at one point, one of the guitarists played the (in)famous Boston Harbor sunfish video through a pickup on his guitar. In addition to sharing their music, they also shared some sage advice: the drummer came forward with a message reminding people to vote in the midterm elections. He presented disheartening statistics on millennial apathy when it comes to voting. “That sucks,” he said, “go vote.” They also played a new song off their tour-only EP, Magic Strop: Tonight. Their set was long but the crowd didn’t mind. The historic band was much beloved by their hometown.
At last, Nothing took the stage. They played in darkness, pierced by a few beams of white light. Their third studio album, Dance on the Blacktop, was released on August 24 on Relapse Records. Half the songs they played were from the new album, and the other half were well-known tunes from previous releases. Fifteen minutes into the set, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Domenic Palermo broke several strings on his guitar, which was swapped out with a rainbow splattered one. He expressed gratitude to the fans who have been listening to them since the beginning, and dedicated an upbeat song to them. Nothing’s new bassist also got some attention and admiration from the audience. Aaron Heard, also known as the vocalist of the Philly-based hardcore group Jesus Piece, joined the band recently. When Palermo introduced him, fans of both Nothing and Jesus Piece cheered him for a minute straight. Nothing is a band that happily interacts with the audience. At the end of the show, an audience member asked Palermo when the European tour starts, to which he responded, “I don’t f*cking know, that’s the last thing I’m thinking about.” They truly gave an end-of-tour performance, with the set lasting over an hour. Nothing is definitely loved by Boston and you can feel that mutual affection whenever they perform here.
Nothing is: Domenic Palermo as lead vocalist and rhythm guitar, Brandon Setta on lead guitar, Aaron Heard on bass, and Kyle Kimball on drums. Their third studio album, Dance on the Blacktop, was released on August 24 on Relapse Records. You can check out more about them on their site, and keep up with them on Facebook.