SAN FRANCISCO — To call the versatile New-England-born Nothing,Nowhere. simply a rapper doesn’t tell the whole story. Nothing,Nowhere., née Joe Mulherin, is a rapper, singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer. He gained success after uploading his material to Soundcloud, where his songs quickly began to find an audience and he was snapped up by Fueled by Ramen records. On top of his wide breadth of musical range, Mulherin takes similar tact with his songwriting, mixing genres that seemingly have nothing to do with each other together seamlessly.
These powers were on full display at Slim’s on Sunday night. Mulherin was in in top form from the outset.
Flanked by a guitarist, a live drummer and occasionally strapping on the guitar himself, Nothing,Nowhere. lead an impressive and expansive musical assault on the senses, bringing his brand of Soundcloud rap to life with lush instrumentation. Mulherin opened with the flow-heavy “Clarity in Kerosene” before moving into “Dread” and “Vacanter.” Nothing,Nowhere.’s mix of genres also make Mulherin’s voice more compelling. At times you could hear shades of a Machine-Gun-Kelly-esque raspy hip-hop delivery before building to a huge screamo chorus with shades of Yellowcard, before breaking down to low raspy vocals of the bridge.
Continuing his set with “Letdown,” “Twenty Something” and “Skully,” Mulherin dramatically stalked the stage, giving the show the feel of an underground battle-rap-meets-punk-rock-meets-emo energy that brought a dramatic rise and fall throughout the thrilling set. A large lighting rig covered the backline of the stage, filling the small venue with bursts of color throughout the set.
Mulherin closed out his main set with “Hammer” and “Nevermore” before returning to the stage to finish out the night with “I’m Sorry, I’m Trying.”
Former Tigers Jaw vocalist Adam McIlwee preceded with headliner with his new solo project, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. McIlwee described the Wicca sound as “emotional trap,” mixing elements of emo, trap and samples to create a trippy new sonic experience. With a DJ in tow, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal lived up to its billing, featuring McIlwee’s understated singing over heavy trap beats with occasional sample flourishes.
Winnipeg’s Smrtdeath kept up the emo rap theme by mixing in its own blend of samples to contribute to its live sound. Opening with “Madman,” which had a sample of Daughter’s “Youth,” Smrtdeath delivered a tight set of intense and emotional hip-hop. Other songs included “Drug Scars” and “Porcelain.” Smrtdeath closed out its set with “I Don’t Feel Anything,” using a sample from Silverstein’s “My Heroine.”
Rapper St. Panther opened up the show, mixing her softer, chilled vocal delivery before building into a more aggressive hip-hop sound. St. Panther delivered her razor-sharp melodic hip-hop, including the hit “Playa,” as well as “Monday Afternoon.”
Correction: This story was edited to clarify Smrtdeath closed his set with “I Don’t Feel Anything.”