7/15/14 – Great Scott

I’ve never seen a band put so much effort into a stage setup at Great Scott. It’s certainly not Boston’s most extravagant venue, and most acts bask in its reddish-orange lights — all part of the charm, really. But Boston-based St. Nothing brought onstage a pair of bare, spiraling blacklight bulbs and an arch-shaped creation that involved a bunch of dried white roses tied to a metal gate. With the audience drenched in darkness, the result was a creepy and mysterious ambience.

Funnily enough, for their first true moment under the spotlight (it was their first time headlining a show), the trio was lit only by the faint blue glow of their own handmade props. But as the room filled with the groans of the bass, low synths, and Marco’s soaring voice, it was clear St. Nothing had earned their right to the spotlight. Sweeping viola bow strokes cut through the electronic synths, and ethereal vocals contrasted the rigid, looped digital drum beats. All the while, the audience was left to ponder lyrics like, “As fast as nothing goes.”

Although the group created a unique stage setting, the whole experience felt strangely familiar; memories of Majical Cloudz performing at this same venue kept nagging at me. It seems Marco is a fan of this dark duo (according to Twitter, anyway) so perhaps Majical Cloudz has been a source of inspiration, but it’s more likely that the similarities were coincidental. Nevertheless, four major parallels cropped up in the show:

1. Devon Welsh, the lead singer of Majical Cloudz, also had the venue kill the lights, leaving the crowd in pure blackness.

2. Welsh, too, lost his voice near the end of the set. He squeezed the life out of a plastic bear-shaped honey container in order to finish the performance.

3. The act is known for its simple, obvious, and gloomy lyrics.

4. Welsh has a distinct manner of gripping the microphone, punching the air to emphasize syllables.

This isn’t the first time I’ve compared two live performances. Of course, there’s bound to be some overlap with bands that have similar styles or approaches. But as Marco shook his fistful of microphone cord and sang lyrics like, “I need to destroy it,” the combination of blunt, to-the-point lyrics, a dark ambience, and jerky gesticulations recalled that November night many months ago.

Unfortunately, like Majical Cloudz, there were many moments when the musicians of St. Nothing seemed like separate entities. Musically, they performed in unison, but physically, they rarely interacted with each other or moved in time with the dreamy music. Although Marco would make eye contact with the crowd and lean towards the edge of the stage, onstage communication was noticeably limited. Regardless, for a blossoming band surrounded by friends and fans, St. Nothing proved they could put on quite the show.

St. Nothing: Toeing Fantasy and Reality
Pros
  • Honest, sincere performance
  • Created ambience that matched the mood of the music
Cons
  • Band should move and interact more with both themselves and the crowd
7.2Overall Score
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