Concert Review: Bottle of Justus and Thomas Ian Nicholas

As promised, I wanted to do a review on a great show I saw earlier this month. I was able to attend Thomas Ian Nicholas‘ concert in Bloomington, IL as a V.I.P. thanks to attending the @Midwest Conference. The opening act was Bottle of Justus, a local Bloomington band started by two brothers in 1997 (they have quite the interesting story).

It had been a good year or so since I was able to attend a live show and man, was it worth it. I have forgotten what a blast it could be. The best part of a live performance to me is the opportunity of high relatability. I’m surrounded by fellow music fans, in the same space as an artist who inspires me creatively and able to take in a live interpretation of songs I love.

I was only aware of the fact that Thomas Ian Nicholas was a musician shortly before the conference and I didn’t know of Bottle of Justus. You can blame both on the fact that I had such a high focus on music overseas and am just now returning to the local scene. What a gold mine it is.

Bottle of Justus

The meet and greet was awesome, but I was swept into the music as soon as Bottle of Justus took the stage. I’m a very private person by nature. Always have been. But if you want me to open up and wear my heart on my sleeve–you just have to bring music into play. I’m the kind of person who listens to a song with my entire being. I study each musician as they play. I want to see what kind of audience is at the show. Will they scream out lyrics, jumping around like crazy? Will they be silent until the song ends? Sure, theatrics at a show are downright entertaining. But a concert is a performance when the musician and their fans reach that middle ground. The lyrics reach into your heart and won’t let go.

I was dancing in my seat as the band floated from track to track. The audience that night started out quiet. It wasn’t that people weren’t interested–they were just taking the show in. As my fellow attendees networked around me, my shoulders started to sway to the chords and riffs. Not being familiar with the sound, there was a constant sense of anticipation. And the guys were so awesome at forcing the audience out of their shells. There were song chants and jokes weaving in between rock anthems. I loved it.

Thomas Ian Nicholas

As Thomas Ian Nicholas took the stage, it was the standard energy shift. Every musician and concert attendee knows it. No matter how much you enjoy the opening act, excitement pours over when the headliner comes out. What was nice in this case was the rapport between the two acts. Because when everyone knows each other, participating in the opposite set is just natural.

We were able to hear some unreleased tracks and I quite enjoyed watching the delight and experimentation with new equipment. Let’s be honest, looping pedals were made for live performances. Intimate shows make for wonderful memories. I lasted about an hour before moving closer to the stage. I’ve included some videos below so you can see what these two acts are like musically. What was the last concert you attended and why did you enjoy it?