So back in 2012 when I lived in Dallas Texas, I remember going to shoot my first show since I emigrated - A fierce banger of a double headed evening featuring Titus Andronicus and Ceremony held in an old Mexican Cantina. A seemingly bizarre partnering which I believe was due to the fact they were both distributed by XL records.
I bumped into John (Parade of Flesh) the promoter and congratulated him for putting on an incendiary show - but also cynically to get the lowdown of the Dallas scene - and what the next show this guy was putting on as I was new to the town - and I’m glad I did.
The Dallas scene, as it turns out, happens to be easily one of the most friendly after the familiarity of the seemingly closed shop of shooting London shows, because along with John I soon met Kris (Margin Walker) another top promoter plus a whole parade of talented individuals and artists who all welcomed me and my strange accent to the Big D - and helped me gain photo access to a whole bunch of shows that otherwise would have seen me (heaven forbid, paying for entry).
Fast forward 4 years and back in London, I get a message from John asking if I had two guitars for the band he was currently touring with in the UK, as they needed them for a video shoot.
“Two acoustic guitars, not electric, Nick”
As it happens I did - and as I didn’t have anything planned for the day I jumped in my car and made my way to see John who would meet me with Nothing, the band he was TMing for, at NME towers in Southwark.
My hands were full as I carried the guitars over to the office studios - so no pro shot stills were taken, mirror slap would have clearly interfered with audio, but I snuck some iPhone footage - and videos of the 2 songs they recorded (as well as outtakes) can be found here:
This was my introduction to Nothing - I had not even had a chance to watch any videos on Youtube. So this was the first time I experience Nothing “live” well, their performance was subdued to say the least maybe it was a combination of their seemingly (to me) bored expressions of being asked to perform in this darkened room to an audience of 3 but they seemingly reflected their surroundings with a restrained, brittle set of two maudlin sounding songs interspersed with banter between themselves (Dom and Brandon).
Afterwards we all met up with the rest of the band in the corridor; Dom, Brandon, Kyle and Nick were super cool and super stoned so after the acoustic workout we all made our way to have lunch at the Breakfast Club Shoreditch, which was conveniently located around the corner from the venue on Hoxton square - I’m still puzzled why an American band would want to travel 4000 miles and taste a disastrous English rendition of the most basic American cuisine, but what do I know? I just shoot snaps.
That evening's gig was a kick arse re-introduction to a quite magnificently shambolic band who play almost unapologetically 90’s music with gusto and aplomb. Dom suggested I shoot from the side of the stage from the DJ booth - but I quickly found myself in amongst the sweaty throng and shooting whilst he twirled with his Stratocaster amongst this crowd of motley cockney rejects.
Their music swells and rises to a fuck off crescendo the noise of which rendered my earplugs almost obsolete - Nickys vocals almost pushed to the back of the mix whilst the guitars are pushed to full histrionics.
It was after the show whilst we shared a joint and the band loaded up that the band's passion for (mainly) English 90’s bands was made apparent (this and the fact Brandon hadn’t washed his Oasis shirt for longer than he cared to remember.
Holding my nose, I ensured that I grabbed my two guitars from the band's van - and took my final few pictures of the band outside and we did our goodbyes.
It was a calm but at the same time chaotic introduction to this band - who I am quite happy to call “a bunch of lovely wankers” and look forward to seeing them hitting these shores again.
Don’t miss Reid’s piece on touring with Nothing in the USA.