Chevelle brings La Gargola to Indianapolis Apr24

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Chevelle brings La Gargola to Indianapolis

When it comes to the rock world today, touring is where bands make the bulk of their money. With the plummeting amount of record sales today (thanks, Spotify and iTunes), bands have to tour heavily, sell more concert tickets and put together a show that gives fans the most bang for their buck so they’ll want to keep coming back.

With Chevelle’s latest record, La Gargola, releasing the first week of April, the veteran three-piece quickly hit the road for their latest headline tour with support from Nothing More.

The first show of 2014 saw the tour hit Indianapolis, a rock market that’s been struggling and isn’t what it used to be- thanks mainly to the sorry excuse for a rock station, X103. However, despite the poor “rock” station in Indy, when a major rock band comes through, fans turn out in the masses to see them.

Nothing is more evident of this than the sold out crowd that packed The Egyptian Room at Old National Centre and it was one of the rowdier crowds to attend an Indy Chevelle show.

Opening the show was newcomers Nothing More, who, because of a rock station that plays bands like The Lumineers and Imagine Dragons, not many fans were familiar with unless they listen to Sirius XM Octane radio.

Even though not many fans knew much about them, they left Indianapolis with an overwhelming new fanbase and had developed legions of followers.

It was like watching Rage Against the Machine, P.O.D. and Jim Morrison of The Doors all on stage at once as frontman Johnny Hawkins has as much energy as Zack de la Rocha of RATM with an appearance that mirrors Morrison.

The stage was packed with drums- one large single drum at the front of the stage for Hawkins as well as two smaller drums set up on the sides of the stage for bassist Daniel Oliver and guitarist Mark Vollelunga. It was like a badass version of Imagine Dragons- but a version that actually plays rock.

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With a radio rock-friendly sound and as much stamina and energy as any of the big name veteran bands- if not more so- Nothing More didn’t have a single slow moment in their performance. With a young band who fans aren’t horribly familiar with, you have to do everything you can to blow fans’ minds and win them over. Nothing More did that and raised the bar.

It’s rare and almost impossible to do something that fans haven’t seen before but Nothing More somehow figured out how to do that.

Toward the end of their set, after a quadruple drum solo featuring drummer Paul O’Brien as well as Hawkins, Oliver and Vollelunga, they set up a stand atop Hawkins’ drum that would hold a guitar. As the guitar laid on the stand, Hawkins, Oliver and Vollelunga climbed ontop of the drum on each side of it and began drumming on the guitar and playing it from each side. They followed this by spinning the guitar on a rotator and completely blew the crowd away with their almost-tribal drum and guitar solo.

It was clear this was the first time any of the fans in the crowd had seen this and it was all they needed to see to become instant fans of Nothing More.

It was clear that when Nothing More finished up, Chevelle would have their work cut out for them and they definitely did- which is saying a lot.

They opened it up with “Grab Thy Hand” from Wonder What’s Next, which was a bit of a surprise. They launched right into “The Clincher” and “The Meddler” before playing a 19-song setlist that included songs from every album except Point #1, which isn’t much of a surprise since it wasn’t a major label release.

They played three songs from the new album- “Take Out the Gunman,” “Hunter Eat Hunter” and “An Island,”  which as the first time they played any of them live, and all of which got an impressive response.

With this having been the first show of the year for Chevelle and the first show in over five months, they looked and sounded like they’d been touring regularly for months rather than just coming off a break.

Their setlist was impressive and their showmanship and stage presence was better than ever. Chevelle, seven albums into their career and having toured for over 15 years now, look and sound like they’re still in their prime and if anything’s for sure, the end is nowhere in sight for the veteran band from Illinois.

-Reggie Edwards

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