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Concert Reviews

Absolute Hero Kickoff Tour at Donato’s Basement – 7/28/17

Absolute Hero - Sing For Sanity

Kicking off the Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice Tour at Donato’s Basement in Columbus, local pop-punkers Absolute Hero flexed their chops to start the mini-run through the Midwest.

With local pop-punk stalwarts We Are The Movies getting the crowd primed, along with a few others making up the four-band bill, the denizens of the basement were ready for the main attraction to take the stage.

Comprised of Sarah Nichole (vocals), Justin Moegling (drums), Bryce Wright (rhythm guitar), Landon Gruszewski (lead guitar) with Josh Willis of Heroes Like Villains on bass, they play an uptempo, angst-ridden brand of pop-punk.

Opening with Kind of a Funny Story, the song settled into a power groove as Nichole’s vocals kicked-in. The enthusiastic crowd lapped it up, singing along to the tune. Unfortunately, Nichole’s vocals were buried in the mix, almost unintelligible for much of their set.

The fast-paced Overdose was next, with We Are The Movies’ Tim Waters joining the band onstage, lending his harmonies to Nichole’s emotional plea of, “So I can overdose on you…” The pair mesh together very nicely, leaving us to ponder if there might be more collaborations between the two in the future.

They kept the engine revved with We Know How This Ends, as Nichole was almost spitting the lyrics with a vengeance, forcing the listener to feel her pain. Again, the crowd responded by singing along and giving the band a loud round of applause.

Staying true to the original, they covered Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle, much to the delight of the crowd.

The following song was perhaps their best of the evening, with the airy strains of This Hurt Locker washing over the room. The emotion that poured forth from Nichole gave an added edge to the lyrics, the agony evident in her voice. The crowd was enthralled throughout the tune.

Launching into My Chemical Romance’s I’m Not Okay, the crowd was singing along and dancing to the beat.

The rolling drum sound announced A Faux Glory, with Nichole counting off the song with a heartfelt “1, 2, 3, 4…” The uptempo number had the crowd almost pogoing around the small room.

The fast pace of These Tables Turn brought their set to close, with the band feeling the groove, as the crowd sang right along with Nichole. It was a good song with which to end their set, leaving the crowd wanting more.

And so… they played one more song, circling back around to a classic pop-punk sound with Expect Good Things. At the conclusion, the crowd appeared satiated from a full night of music.

As was stated earlier, the vocal mix was simply bad. Correcting the mix is a relatively straight-forward process that would make it infinitely more enjoyable for the listener. One more thing the venue could do to enhance the listening experience would be to put some acoustic tiles, sound dampening foam, etc., on the bare brick walls.

By the band’s own admission, this was not one of their better shows. Other than the sound issues, it was an enjoyable set from Absolute Hero. Although, I would like to experience them in a larger venue with a better sound mix.


  1. Kind of a Funny Story
  2. Overdose
  3. We Know How This Ends
  4. The Middle (Jimmy Eat World cover)
  5. This Hurt Locker
  6. I’m Not Okay (My Chemical Romance cover)
  7. A Faux Glory
  8. These Tables Turn
  9. Encore – Expect Good Things

Ed. – Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain any images of the band at the show.

Absolute Hero – This Hurt Locker 2.0

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