Nicknameless to celebrate decade of music

Christopher Gooding
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Local music group Nicknameless comprised of (clockwise from top) Justin Adams, Chris Brown, Joe King and Mike King almost have 10-years under their belt entertaining audiences. To celebrate the milestone, they’ll be performing in Springhill on August 16. Submitted

SPRINGHILL – Almost 10 years ago the popular motto was “Move West, young man,” but four Springhill youths, failing to know how to use a compass, defied the odds by heading a little further East and creating something special.

Musicians Chris Brown, Justin Adams and brothers Mike and Joe King traveled to the land of Cape Breton, where the Mackenzie College promised to open their eyes and ears to the world of audio recording. At that time Brown was a known percussionist, Adams a bass player, and the King brothers could play whatever they wanted, but usually it was guitars.

A chance school assignment, however, presented them with the opportunity to change up how they approached playing music. Brown put down the drumsticks and picked up an acoustic guitar and started singing. Adams grabbed the electric guitar and started soloing. Mike sat down at the drum kit and laid down a beat as Joe took the bass and laid down a groove.

Nicknameless was born.

Looking back, members of the band realize they were onto something and if they had a time machine the message they would want to impart to their younger selves isn’t much further from how history played out.

“I would tell the young Nicknameless to push, push and push, pursue all leads,” Joe says.

“If I talked to my younger self, I'd say good job. No regrets. Keep going,” Brown says. “Enjoy what happens and don't try to change things or people.”

The turn of the century was a terrific time for the East Coast music scene. Three-minute ditties fit for radio were giving way to longer, extended jams. A chord was struck, a beat delivered and the bar would hop until the band decided it was time to stop. In this scene, where regional party bands like Slowcoaster and Grand Theft Bus were just a gig away from going national, Nicknameless found a footing and went abroad, landing them in international competitions, appearing on television and touring.

But they always found their way back home to Springhill, where their popularity was as cherished as maple syrup in the spring. It was a right of passage for someone who was underage to get by the bouncer and disappear on the dance floor with the droves who now associated the band as the soundtrack for a good time.  

But that was then and this is now.

In the last 10 years the quartet has grown musically and individually. They can stand on their own merits, but together they’re still something else, so it can’t go unnoticed they’ll celebrate their (almost) 10th year anniversary, fittingly enough, in Springhill on Aug. 16 at the Split Crowe. The show will feature what the band members have been doing since their initial days with Nicknameless – Brown recently won top honours in the Radiostar National Talent Search and Mike plays drums with Coyote, who won the People's Choice Rising Star Award during this year’s East Coast Music Awards weekend in Halifax – and what set this journey in motion almost 10 years ago; that college band without a nickname who are pretty big on having fun. 



Twitter: ADNchris

Organizations: Mackenzie College

Geographic location: SPRINGHILL, Cape Breton, East Coast Halifax

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