There was an electric atmosphere in the O2 Forum, Kentish Town yesterday evening as over 2000 fans packed into the venue to catch a glimpse of one of the UK’s current best alternative-rock bands. Since their formation in 2012, Nothing But Thieves have quickly grown in popularity, largely propelled by frequent radio airplay. The Southend-on-Sea band went on to score a UK top 10 album in October 2015* and have since been touring both in their own right and as a support act to various established bands.
Last night, the band were supported by the energetic if somewhat clamorous Black Foxxes and the great Sundara Karma. Both were fitting for the event and warmed up the audience effectively before Nothing But Thieves’ arrival at 9:30pm. ‘Itch‘ was the perfect opener with its urgent guitar riffs and its tension-building verses. ‘Painkiller‘ followed suit, the frantic percussion and driving bass lines pulsating throughout the venue and raising energy levels from the audience.
The setlist was spot on (aside from the absence of stunning ballad ‘Lover, Please Stay’) with a perfect balance of powerful rock anthems and the band’s more haunting ballads. The likes of ‘Hostage’, ‘Excuse Me’ and ‘Honey Whiskey’ translated brilliantly live and conveyed an infectious energy whilst the ballads formed magical moments of the show. The gorgeous ‘Graveyard Whistling‘, haunting ‘Tempt You‘ and eerie ‘If I Get High‘ all rippled emotively throughout the venue and were worthy of goosebumps as frontman Conor Mason captivated the audience with his intoxicating vocals.
The band performed as a unit; tight and in-sync whilst Mason’s vocals were other-worldly and at times eerily reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. His vocals are sturdy and perfectly executed, whether through the murmured lower register or his ethereal, soaring falsettos. He is in possession of one of the most remarkable and powerful male vocals in the world and it is truly phenomenal to experience them live.
The evening was solely about the music, emphasised by the lack of theatrics in the show; the band were aided only by a backdrop of their eponymous début album and atmospheric lighting. Still, this was enough for the audience who were on-side throughout the entire evening. The atmosphere in the venue was electric, prompting Mason to comment on the energy in the present multiple times throughout the show. He appeared rather overwhelmed by the vast sea of faces in the venue but channelled this into a buoyant energy and was an instantly likeable front-man. At one point he responded to a emerging chant for him to remove his t-shirt with “No I’m not taking my top off, my Nan’s on the balcony!” prior to instructing the crowd to cheer for her.
The evening concluded in an enthralling encore comprised of three of the band’s best tracks; ‘If I Get High‘, ‘Trip Switch‘ and ‘Ban All The Music’. It was a brilliant finale to a fantastic evening and proved that Nothing But Thieves are the alt-rock band of now.
All photos taken from the band’s official Twitter account.
*Read our review of Nothing But Thieves’ début album here
- Graveyard Whistling
- Excuse Me
- Honey Whiskey
- Where Is My Mind (Pixies cover)
- Drawing Pins
- Tempt You
- Wake Up Call
- If I Get High
- Trip Switch
- Ban all the Music
Catch Nothing But Thieves on tour now: