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Concert Reviews
(May 17, 2003 – The Shelter, Detroit, MI)

After an invigorating interview with Nothingface lead singer, Matt Holt, it was time for some chow before the show’s start. In continuance of conversation, Holt and I headed out to find some motor city eats where he explained that his shoulders were in serious pain (one from a childhood baseball injury and one for reasons unknown), his throat was still very sore from trying to sing through bronchitis and that he was planning to return home for a long needed doctor’s visit in a couple of days. Looking back now, Detroit should feel honored that they got to see the last American Nothingface show until the onset of their European shows and Ozzfest. Two days later, Holt wrote a public letter to his fans apologizing for the cancellations and his disappointment at being out of commission for the time being.

After hob-knobbing with the Downtown Hoe Down goers (an odd mix of Michigan cowboys, Redwings fans and girls with tans far too dark for the month of May in Detroit) the thought of a metal show brought a sense of normalcy back into my life. Passing by the Shelter, a long line had already formed at the entrance – a promising sign. However, upon joining the crowd a little while later, any energy seemed to be lacking. About 60 fans were in the audience when the L.A. based Hotwire took the stage, and from their relaxed demeanor I wondered if they were perhaps just mapping out the best area for a pit during the first song or two. Hotwire, who will be joining Nothingface for Ozzfest this summer, jumped, kicked, screamed and basically proved that they deserved a lot more metal fan enthusiasm than they were receiving. One fan yelled “Play something heavier,” to which lead singer, Rus Martin, quipped “What? Like Good Charlotte?” The crowd began to show some emotion by laughing at the comment. However, when the crowd got their wish and Hotwire played the heavier 'Nice Profile' off of their new RCA album, The Routine, the audience still retained a lame posture . Such a shame for a new and promising metal band. Yet, those there that night can still redeem themselves by going to the next Hotwire show at the Shelter this upcoming June 11th.

Miraculously, as Nothingface found the stage, the crowd found their fire. A pit formed, heads swung and the band retained their hypnotic control. After playing the song, 'All Cut Up' from their new album, Skeletons, Holt explained how his throat was ‘all cut up’ and thanked the crowd for hanging in there with him. As the show progressed, none of Holt’s health problems were blatantly obvious and those present seemed as into the music as at any metal show I’d been to before. Fellow band members, Tom Maxwell (guitar), Bill Gaal (bass) and Tommy Sickles (drums) are definitely amazing enough musicians to pick up any slack that may have been laid. However, I must say that I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get close enough to the stage to see Maxwell’s famous spittle string stage phenomena!

After the show, Holt seemed disappointed with his performance and the short set list for the night. Although the show was just as engaging and eerie as their new album, let’s all hope that he gets better before returning to Detroit with Ozzfest for two shows in July.

Reviewed by G. M. Pasfield

To read our exclusive interview with Matt Holt just click here and be whisked away !