LIVE: Nothing But Thieves

Charlie Isaac reviews Nothing But Thieves

4th November 2015

The show itself took place in the top room of the O2 academy and it was packed to the brim.  The fans filling the room ranged from the standard selection of teenagers and students, making use of the various bombs and mixers on offer, to older rock fans in their late-20s and 30s drinking extortionately-priced pints of larger. Coming on-stage immediately following the DJ blasting Queens Of The Stone Age’s ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’ (intentional or not, it certainly added to the atmosphere), Nothing But Thieves opened with an intense rendition of ‘Excuse Me’ to an appreciative yet largely-static crowd.

it is clear Mason has very much nailed down what it means to be a frontman... despite his claims to have a cold!

The band’s ability to maintain huge amounts of energy consistently throughout the show was remarkable, playing each song with the same level of vigour and passion as one would expect of any much larger rock act. However, it was frontman Conor Mason that really tied it all together, his wailing falsetto vocals executed flawlessly, both technically impressive and injected with considerable emotion and soul. Combined with various onstage antics, including a stage dive/crowd-surf towards the end of the set, it is clear Mason has very much nailed down what it means to be a frontman. And all this despite his claims to have a cold!

This energy was certainly not lost on the crowd, who became increasingly livelier as the set progressed. This climaxed with the finale, playing perhaps their most popular song ‘Ban All The Music’, in which a full-on surge and quasi-mosh pit erupted, to an immense chorus of “ban all the music, it’s all gone wrong” from the crowd.

Though this is not to say heavy and energetic was all Nothing But Thieves had to offer; the softer ballads ‘If I Get High’ and ‘Lover Please Stay’ provided well-timed breaks, certainly demonstrating both their versatility as a band and skills as musicians.

Furthermore, one definitely got the sense that the band actually wanted to be there, a quality quite frequently lost at gigs. “Thank you so much, the shows on this tour keep getting better and better!”(I may be inadvertently paraphrasing) proclaimed Mason about halfway into the gig, much to the delight of the crowd.

If I was to have one complaint about the show, it is that they didn’t include a cover song at any point. For a band that frequently cites classic rock as a big influence – the likes of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin – a cover of this sort certainly would’ve gone down well. However, this is an incredibly minor criticism; the setlist was brilliant, the playing was near-perfect and the vibe was incredible, there’s really not much more one could ask for!

Charlie Isaac

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