Written by on 2024-03-19

First concert for the radio in what feels like an eternity, but given everything we missed in the past five years, it seemed like a good time to get back in the game. And what could be better than the European tour of NOTHING MORE, whose record “Spirits” is still fresh in my memory.

After a very interesting interview with Daniel Oliver, their bass player, time to head to the Trabendo for an evening under the sign of modernity. Since I was not that familiar with either opening bands, I used the past couple of weeks to listen to SIAMESE and VUKOVI. Given what I heard, I must admit that tonight’s line-up is incredibly coherent, which is always a good sign.


SIAMESE (Trabendo, 27/02/2024)

We make it just in time for the first notes of “The Shape Of Water”, and unfortunately some issues of Parisian venues are still present… Tonight, SIAMESE did not get the sound their performance deserved. It is mostly noticeable with violin player Christian Hjort Lauritzen, who finds himself drowned under the rest, and, outside of his solos, is barely audible. As for the rest, even though things get better through the show it is still a slapdash wall of sound from beginning to end.

And that is a shame, because the Danish quintet delivers a great show for its French fans. Despite a limited space on the stage, the five musicians give their all so that the audience, who is still coming in, can move to the music. And they’re pretty successful given that even the EDM breaks on ‘On Fire’ (who works live better than I thought it would) get a positive response and I can see a few circles pits formed here and there.

The setlist is well built too, a kind of Best-Of since most, if not all, the songs have associated videos. The Danes perfectly play to the contrast of calmer moments and powerful escalations in their music (“Holy”, “Sloboda”) to become the focal point for an always more favorable audience. Drummer Joakim Stilling hits like his kit is indestructible, while the pair of Andreas Krüger (guitar) and Mark Nommesen (bass) is covered in sweat after two songs.

But the man of the show remains lead singer Mirza Radonjica whose voice is impressive tonight. His presence on stage commands attention and he gives his all to leave a lasting impression. He congratulates his four bandmates, as well as the two other bands and uses every single second between songs to talk to the entire audience. “Sloboda” is dedicated to the people in Palestine victims of the genocide and ends it with an angry apropos “Fuck Israel”, which makes sense when you know he is a war refugee born in Croatia. The final song “Ocean Bed” is dedicated to people struggling with mental health, which makes SIAMESE even more sympathetic.

Building on their ten years of experience, they kicked ass and delivered 40 minutes of modern metal without any frills. I was not necessarily a fan of their records, but if given the chance, I will gladly see them live again.

Setlist SIAMESE:
« Shape Of Water »
« Numb »
« Holy »
« On Fire »
« Can’t Force The Love »
« Sloboda »
« Ocean Bed »
Official Website


VUKOVI (Trabendo, 27/02/2024)

Turnovers are usually a time where the strangest of conversations happen and tonight is no exception: another spectator comes up to me asking if a band had already played, before turning around, disappointed to learn that he missed SIAMESE, the band he most wanted to see…

After roughly twenty minutes, VUKOVI is ready. Given the numerous layers in their music, I was curious to see how the Scottish duo would bring to live their mix of Hyperpop, noise-pop and modern metal. Tonight VUKOVI is a trio, with drummer Martin Johnston, whose drum kit is placed on the side of the stage, joins Janine Shilstone and Hamish Reilly while giving them ample space to move.

The show starts with a bang, despite the same issues with sound mixing. Reilly and Johnson let us know what they are all about from the get-go and both the drums and guitars are simultaneously very precise and very powerful. While being placed on the side, Martin Johnston is far from unnoticeable and does a massive work on his parts. He is the one turning ‘Lasso’ into an absolute killer of a song. As for Hamish Reilly, he wears a headband along with a tracksuit, which is rather unusual for a metal show, and spends the entire set jumping while blasting the crowd in positive energy. But he clearly is the focal point of VUKOVI and the entire music is balanced by his riffs and his touch (‘I Exist’ is a hit with riffs you cannot get out of your head). And it is what is necessary to get reactions out of an audience appearing to be less receptive than they were for SIAMESE.

The abundance of samples and pre-recorded tapes, used to create a musical game between the tapes and the musicians as well as to recreate the full spectrum of their music, turns into a disservice for VUKOVI since they seem to be a problem for the sound engineers and they are either too loud or not loud enough through the set. And that did not work out well for Janine Shilstone…

The lead singer is giving it all on stage, despite a costume that decided to do whatever it wanted, and keeps trying to chat with the audience who look like they have trouble with her Scottish accent (even though it is not that strong). Except that what she brings in energy, she loses in precision and is more than once off-key. She appears to have a hard time going along the samples and some of the vocal exchanges with her pre-recorded voice fail (even though they are pretty interesting and very theatrical) but all of this made me think that she possibly did not hear herself.

The show then feels a bit wobbly but the band can count on efficient songs with memorable choruses and a well-built set list that let us have a glimpse of their potential. After forty minutes, the band ends on ‘La Di Da’ where Shilstone manages to get back on track and end up on a high note. Missed opportunity? Maybe. Disappointment? Clearly. However, I am still excited about their next record and I will give them a second chance on stage, the potential is here.

Setlist VUKOVI:
« Creep Heat »
« Lasso »
« Hades »
« Kill It »
« Slo »
« Run/Hide »
« I Exist »
« La Di Da »
Official Website


NOTHING MORE (Trabendo, 27/02/2024)

Second turnover but no improbable conversation this time, which makes me sad. This one is a bit long but, as a DR DRE fan I really enjoyed their interesting choice of music between sets. A bit after 9 PM, the lights finally turn off, the JOHN DENVER timeless classic ‘Take Me Home, Counry Roads’ starts playing as the musicians arrive on stage.

And let’s just say that NOTHING MORE absolutely acted like a headliner and just obliterated the venue with the help of a red-hot audience who sings along the entirety of the lyrics for every song.

Only two very little issues for me. First, ‘Angel Song’, a new song unveiled on that tour, while being good, is not as immediate as the others and would not have been my choice for a second single. Second, and most important, it was way too short. That is it, because when looking at the rest, it is clear they are a twenty-year-old band who mastered his craft. In the interview, Daniel Oliver mentioned that they stopped using props on stage to feel like a pure rock’n’roll band once again, and to their credit, it worked.

NOTHING MORE (Trabendo, 27/02/2024)
NOTHING MORE (Trabendo, 27/02/2024)

On stage, drummer Ben Anderson is a machine who bangs his drums like his life depends on it and you can feel in both the way he plays and his facial expressions how serious he is behind his kit. Immensely more comfortable than he was in 2017, his performance of ‘Spirits’ was pure precision’, his solo on ‘Ships In The Night’ was sublime and he demonstrated his full range of power on ‘Go To War’ where it felt like he just wanted to crush the floor beneath him.

On Guitar, Mark Vollelunga spent the whole show with a large smile on his face and you could feel him being impressed by the French audience reactions on the first songs. A model of regularity, he plays his parts without failing and with a consistency that would make a metronome blush. With palpable emotion, he introduces the magnificent ‘Fade In/Fade Out’ and dedicates the song to his father and child. He then makes me shiver with those opening arpeggios and those shivers turned to tears when the entire venue sang ‘You will watch me fade out’ on the chorus.

As for Daniel Oliver, sunglasses firmly placed on his nose, he is just like his bandmate: precise, efficient and discreet and yet omnipresent. While his bass is a bit in the background of the mix, his backing vocals are shockingly powerful. And it turns out that he is the one who, through his restraint and his (albeit deceptive) discretion, balances the energy and power of Jonny Hawkins. Without him, it would all collapse, which is clear on the emotionally powerful ‘Jenny’ where he does a large part of the work, on ‘Ships In The Night’ where the crescendo packs a massive punch thanks to the bass/drums duo or the small parts narrated by Alan Watts where it’s all about the bass/guitar dynamics.

But the clear focal point on the show, by design, is obviously Jonny Hawkins. The shirtless, shoeless brawny singer gave his all tonight. From the second song on, he had the audience in the palm of his hands and played with them, and let them sing choruses as well as some parts of the verses. His movements were a mix of feline elegance and mechanical stiffness, which matches his voice perfectly. No matter the range he operates in, he never loses power or emotion. Be it on the crescendos of ‘This Is The Time (Ballast)’, the rhythmic lyrics of ‘Don’t Stop’, the very emotional ‘Go To War’ or the end of ‘Spirits’ when he makes reaching the screamed high notes effortless, he is quasi-perfect all the time.

Tonight the four musicians put their full talent on display and once again showed that their live shows are a sure thing. With a new record ‘Carnal’ announced for this autumn and given how amazingly they were received by the Parisian audience, there is no doubt we will see them again, and hopefully they have a lot of surprises for us. A high quality show from a definitely underrated band.

« Let ’em Burn »
« Do You Really Want It? »
« Don’t Stop »
« If It Doesn’t Hurt »
« Go to War »
« Angel Song »
« Tired of Winning »
« Ships in the Night »
« Jenny »
« I’ll Be OK »
« Fadein/Fadeout »
« Ocean Floor »
« This Is the Time (Ballast) (+ jam de fin) »

Official Website

Photos by Shyanna.

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