Nothing But Thieves are currently on their headline ‘Under My Skin Tour 2016’, and we at CelebMix were lucky enough to attend their penultimate show last night at Norwich UEA.
Speaking to fans before the gig started, it became evident that Nothing But Thieves are growing a strong and extremely dedicated fanbase. From the sounds of things, most fans there had already seen the band at least once, travelling across the country to catch them at different venues. Some had previously been to see the band support Muse on their current headline tour ‘Drones’, and had bought tickets as soon as they’d seen them live or taken a first listen to their self-titled debut album.
The crowd were ready for Nothing But Thieves from the moment the blazing, blue lights came up and the band stepped out on stage. The first song, ‘Itch’, one of their earliest songs which was released on the ‘Graveyard Whistling’ EP in 2014 and as a single in 2015, was a winner with the crowd as it was immediately recognised. The mosh pit opened up and the crowd’s energy matched with the band’s. Every word sang by Conor Mason, the lead singer, was matched with an even louder crowd screaming the words back.
The high tempo was maintained as the band jumped into ‘Painkiller’, and then ‘Hostage’. Norwich UEA, being only a small venue holding 1,500 people, was brimming at the edges as the mosh pit opened up and crowds jumped and bounced against each other to the catchy beats of the songs. It’s surprising that Joe Langridge-Brown, guitarist for Nothing But Thieves, didn’t have a sore neck after the first few songs from the amount of hair flipping he was doing.
‘Hostage’ notably has the strongest bass line out of all of their songs, allowing Philip Blake, bassist, to take the lead on the song as the rhythm, accompanied by James Price on drums, allows a defining sound that resonates throughout the small venue. This song holds an ever so slightly grungier feel than the rest of the album, offering a darker side to the band’s abilities.
‘Graveyard Whistling’ slowed the crowd down just a bit and brought a more chill vibe. As Mason stepped away from his microphone, the crowd shouted back the lyrics loudly and energetically. This was met with a large smile from Mason, and with him saying “I f*cking love you guys.” before continuing to sing.
A circle pit was opened wide in the crowd during ‘Honey Whiskey’ which was a tremendous display of every single element that the band has to offer. Mason borrowed Brown’s guitar as the band jammed together and the crowd eagerly waited for the last chorus to drop. Hands in the air, fist bumping along to the beat, the crowd undoubtedly appreciated this as one of their best live songs.
Nothing But Thieves have mentioned many times how they’re influenced strongly by one of their idolised bands, The Pixies, and it was met with loud cheers from the crowd as they decided to cover ‘Where is My Mind?’. Fan of The Pixies or not, Nothing But Thieves smashed this cover, turning it into something of their own. Mason’s voice fit the sound perfectly and links could be seen between the sound of The Pixies and Nothing But Thieve’s own album. Many fans took to Twitter after the gig to show their appreciation for the band’s cover.
Nothing but thieves covering the Pixies may have been the most monumental thing to have happened in the history of the LCR
— Spencer Henson (@spencerhenson99) April 21, 2016
Something that must be noted is Conor Mason’s vocal abilities. At only 23 years old, Mason has quite possibly the strongest male voice in the music industry at this moment in time. His voice resonates resemblance to that of an opera singer, yet it works extremely effectively with the alternative rock beats of the band. Every song of their debut album allows Mason to show the full abilities of his vocal range with Dom Craik, guitarist, noting in an interview with Sky Arts Sessions how they’ve adapted to using Mason’s voice as an instrument to accompany the other instruments. However, if one song must be made acclaimed as the best of Mason’s vocals, then that has to be ‘If I Get High’.
The band began their encore with ‘If I Get High’, the chilled out guitar introducing the song before Price brought a slow drum beat in for the build up to the epic chorus. This is where Mason seems to most display a sense of operatic style in his voice, belting out long high notes with a killer range. Norwich lit up the venue brighter than it’s been seen before, an immense amount of phone lights on display for such a small crowd.
The show was closed with arguably the most upbeat song on Nothing But Thieve’s album, ‘Ban All The Music’. The defining, repetitive guitar riff ripped through the venue as the crowd thrived and sung out the lyrics loudly, forming a perfect ending as the band left the crowd on a high. The strong drum beat acts as a motivator for the crowd, the mosh pit turning into a mess of people as they bash against each other. Mason decided to join in with the hype of the crowd by climbing onto the barrier and jumping at the chance to crowd-surf. The crowd did not disappoint Mason, lifting him high into the air and adding to what can only be described as an electric atmosphere. Craik seemed almost in shock afterwards, saying to Mason outside “they were literally holding you in the air, so high up!”
— francesca (@frannersthorn) April 20, 2016
It’s safe to say that Norwich was blessed last night by the anthemic, hard rocking beats of Nothing But Thieves, the mix of old and new songs creating at atmosphere that was wild from start to finish. This has to be only the start for the band however as they’re picking up steam at a fast pace as their album gathers more and more sales, and the fan base is quickly growing. Nothing But Thieves are set to play the main stage at Reading and Leeds festival in the summer, and fans are highly anticipating a powerful set from this compelling band.
Have you listened to Nothing But Thieves yet or seen them live? Tweet us @CelebMix or comment below what you make of the band!