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Show Review: Sold-out surreal madness with nothing, nowhere

nothing, nowhere is the next big thing. If you don’t know, now you know.

An eccentric crowd of basement dwellers, Fueled by Ramen regulars and anime club kids packed Rebel Lounge in Phoenix for a surreal sold-out show on Tuesday.

It’s easy to be skeptical about the buzz surrounding an artist like nothing, nowhere but from start to finish, Vermont-based musician Joe Mulherin proved that his project is the real deal.

Mulherin has a cultivated aesthetic and a vibe that one has to be present for in order to understand. His set was visually and aurally engaging, incorporating a setup that looked like a campsite and a loop of grainy visuals projected behind him.

The fans sang every single word at deafening volumes as Mulherin alternated between prowling the front of the stage, close enough for the front row to touch and hanging back to play guitar in the show’s more restrained moments. The setlist was a stellar mix of songs from his debut album with older material thrown in (Deadbeat Valentine drew significant shrieking). His backing guitarist and drummer kept the set tight and let Mulherin own Rebel’s stage as the audience surged closer with every note.

The hype surrounding nothing, nowhere is real. Mulherin has a clear and broad vision for his work and it shows in everything from his lyrics to his stage aesthetic.

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Credit: Luxicon Photography

While nothing, nowhere was fantastic, his openers left so much to be desired. Producer/MC Jay Vee took the stage early, spinning remixes in an awkward set that went on too long and seemed more of a space filler than a warm-up for the rest of the bill.

What I do know about the openers is that if I had closed my eyes, I would not have known that there was a transition between the middle acts of Lil Lotus and Shinigami. The whole experience was canned and disappointing, lacking showmanship and live vocals. Despite all of this, the crowd was very into it, singing almost every word back.

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Credit: Luxicon Photography

If Tuesday’s show is any indicator, we won’t be seeing Mulherin and co. play small club shows for much longer and the quality of talent he brings on tour will hopefully be leaps and bounds above what I witnessed this week. If nothing, nowhere isn’t on your radar yet, don’t miss this train. With his mix of rap and emo, self-loathing and realistic optimism, Mulherin is on the cusp of something great and it was truly exciting to watch the beginning of the next explosion.

 

Olivia Khiel

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