Hitting the stage across the country, Nothing But Thieves embark on their first sold-out UK tour and it was a blast. In the small world of these Essex lads they couldn’t have possibly had a debut album, let alone, a sold-out tour with full audiences chanting and clapping to their music. At “the best gig” they’ve ever done, as claimed by Conor Mason five minutes into their performance, there was a mixture of audiences both young teens and mature adults.
Unfortunately for myself and many avid fans standing nearby some of the mature adults decided to lead a rather loud commentary of the gig as well as their view on how musical preferences of the youth have changed. They were intrigued and slightly disgusted by the sound of “a mosh-pit” at rock gigs, hoping this gig wouldn’t be “one of those”. As the supports took the stage the critical commentary did not cease until the main act.
Exeter indie band, Witterquick (above) started the support act bursting with energy as Will Alford (vocals) worked the crowd with claps as they performed new single, ‘Soldier’ amongst other tracks from their EP. Admirably, they tried to build a bond with the audience by covering Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ which livened the crowd as it satisfied both rock and pop fans with some familiarity. Alford had solid vocals and Witterquick’s performance was a likeable start to the support acts which was going to take a pretty wild turn.
Wild Welsh teens, Pretty Vicious (above) picked up their guitars and began their rebelliously loud set with a “na na na na”, screeching vocals and guitar with clear inspiration from Arctic Monkey’s, Royal Blood and Jake Bugg. For their age and little time in the public sphere these rockers are pretty raw and ready for an audience of punk fans. Though according to the commentary from some critical listeners there were face palms and sour faces pulled at every song of the set; it seems that the only thing pretty vicious was the harsh comments from older audiences, less fond of the smashing of guitars. Mostly the reception of Pretty Vicious was well received by younger audiences who headbanged at the thrashing guitars and loud vocals. They were energetic at it’s best and the crowd was certainly warmed up for Nothing But Thieves.
In preparation for the main act the usual bottles of water placed next to each instrument and mic were ironically replaced with beer bottles- a reminder that behind the stage lights Nothing But Thieves are still just mates having fun, jamming and making music. The show began, as the record did, with blaring drums from James Price and stunning vocals from Conor Mason. After the falsetto belting ‘Excuse Me’ and popular track ‘Itch’ were finished the main act were well introduced to the crowd of the Electric Ballroom and the chatty, critical voices were silenced and shifted to faces of awe. There was nothing to complain about apart from the short duration of the set. Some stage presence was maintained by Mason through the occasional comments regarding the story behind some tracks such as ‘Hanging’ being a song about boredom and how ‘If I Get High’ was made in a garage in a mere 45 minutes. Whilst Dom Craik (guitar ) and Philip Blake (bass) chatted amongst themselves, perhaps discussing this surreal moment of fame for normal Essex lads such as themselves. Both crazy fans and critics were in amazement of the fresh talent owning the stage yet no-one was in more awe than Mason himself, at the centre of the stage, smiling inwardly in pride whilst humbled by the extremely responsive crowd.
Nothing But Thieves were passionate to a fault- Price pounding every drum, Landridge-Brown, Blake and Craik strumming every guitar/bass and Mason belting out every note with the appreciation of the music and of its reception. The ballads ‘Graveyard Whistling’ and ‘Lover, Please Stay’ offered gentle moments of rest in between the excitement of the rockier songs, but the absence of a heavier bass and drums was replaced with the ardent follow of hummed vocals from the audience. The small venue became alight with highly held mobile torch lights that swayed gently in a sea of standing fans. Even at these quiet moments where the vocals couldn’t hide Mason’s falsetto stood out confidently, sounding even better than on the record.
As rightfully said by Conor Mason before the end of the last rocky number, ‘Ban All The Music’, “This is just the fu**ing beginning! Let’s take over the world together.” By the end of the best Nothing But Thieves gig it seems that they won’t have to wait much longer until they’ll be selling out tours globally.
What did you think of Nothing But Thieves’ debut album or tour if you saw them?
All photos taken by myself- please give credit if you intend to use/share.