photos by Mimi Hong

Nothing at Bowery Ballroom - 7/9/16

"This is the opposite of the Bowery show," Nothing frontman Nicky Palermo said as a member from Culture Abuse threw streamers across the stage and and the audience, which seemed to be a combination of friends and fans. Just a few minutes before, the band started their set with Nicky being shot in the eye with some form of glitter confetti filled projectile.

Nothing's show with Culture Abuse and Citizen on Sunday (7/10) at Market Hotel felt like a party, and in many ways it was: as the last stop on a sixty-something day long tour with Culture Abuse, Nothing had reason to celebrate.

Culture Abuse and Citizen played prior to Nothing, delivering a taste of the vibe to come and a different vibe entirely, respectively.

I'd seen Culture Abuse with Nothing once before in Boston on this same tour, but with Culture Abuse I wasn't so sure I could expect what I'd seen previously. That night in Boston, the band was a raucous wildcard delivering drunk wisdom among shouted punk songs with pop rhythms. It was my first time ever hearing the band. Later, when listening to their debut LP Peach, I discovered that their recorded sound was much more subdued. While I liked the LP for what it was, I knew I'd miss the fun of their live sound. Fortunately, they delivered a very similar performance for Brooklyn, as well. It was music to get drunk and dance to, a nice change from the rest of the bill.

Citizen at Bowery Ballroom

Citizen offered a more put-together set, performing their popular heartfelt sing-along songs as well as songs from last year's Everybody is Going to Heaven in a way that was passionate but also very clean. Compared to Nothing and Culture Abuse, Citizen seemed a lot more straightforward. Depending on your taste, that could be good or bad.

My memories from the night tend to stick to Culture Abuse and Nothing.

Like Culture Abuse, Nothing put on a familiar show. They primarily played songs off their most recent release, Tired of Tomorrow, as well as my two personal favorite Nothing songs "July the Fourth" and "Chloroform" from their split EP with Whirr in 2014, and a few songs from Guilty of Everything. As they had in Boston, the band began their cover of Radiohead's "Creep," only to mess up after the first verse and give up entirely. "Nobody wanted to hear that shit anyway," Nicky said. Throughout their performance, their friends and members of the former bands came on stage dropping glitter on the band, placing Hawaiian leis over their necks and jumping off the stage. Before playing "Eaten by Worms," Nicky said "This song is about being dead, which I can't wait to have happen." Considering what a good time everyone appeared to be having, I don't think that could be true.

After the show, I met up with the frontman from Culture Abuse, David Kelling, along with Nicky. Perhaps for the ambience or for lack of a quieter space, we spoke in the men's bathroom which was still very much in use. There, they told me their plans for a new collaborative project. "It's like R&B... Delfonics & War meets the Lemonheads," Nicky said. The new project will be called Cherry Head. They explained it as an homage to early 20th century pop art painter Stuart Davis, whose exhibit they had seen at the Whitney. "It's fucking deep," David said.

I asked them if they were glad the tour was over, to which David quickly said "fuck no!" Nicky followed up with "It's never over."

That's pretty much true, considering everything else both bands have lined up for the next few weeks. Culture Abuse will be playing Wrecking Ball Fest and Riot Fest in the next two months, and Nothing is already playing another NYC show with Dinosaur Jr. and Jane's Addiction in Coney Island on Friday (7/15).

Culture Abuse at Bowery Ballroom

As for their comment on the Bowery show they had played the night before: "We smoked wet before the show last night so we didn't know what was going on." They also explained that people seemed more uptight at Bowery given the recent tragedies in America. "I think they were more relaxed tonight, but they shouldn't be, because shit's fucked up," Nicky said.

But Brooklyn still offered something revitalizing for Nicky. "I was asleep for the past three days until I got shot in the eye with a firework, now I'm awake again," he said, "So I stay woke. Stay woke Brooklyn. Stay nice."

The pictures in this post are of the Bowery show, and those continue below...


Culture Abuse