Talent: Better heard live or on record? Nothing But Thieves


One of my all time favourite acts, Nothing But Thieves, are an incredible British band. They have had a remarkably successful career so far, spanning two albums and two EPs, headlining numerous different festivals and embarking on extensive world tours. Their sound is unique – perhaps credit to vocalist Conor Mason whose striking personality mixes with his phenomenal vocal abilities. Early songs such as ‘Lover, Please Stay’ and ‘Emergency’ from their Graveyard Whistling EP showcase the frontman’s capabilities. Mason’s vocals were highlighted significantly in their debut Nothing But Thieves especially in tracks like ‘If I Get High’, ‘Neon Brother’ and ‘Wake Up Call’. As is the case for many bands who exceed expectations with their debut album, it was a concern that the 5-piece wouldn’t be able to produce another album so extraordinary. Their 2017 release Broken Machine was in my opinion, the weaker of the two but that is not to discredit the album at all. Mason’s voice was somewhat less significant to the album, instead the talent from the rest of the band was more prominent across the board.

The band have a knack of producing perfect rock music, taking obvious influences from the likes of Muse or more so Radiohead, and every release has been gobsmackingly beautiful. But with that being said, I’ve seen the band live upwards of 10 times and I will be the first to admit, they’re better live. Perhaps it’s because I like aggressive, heavier music usually or maybe I just appreciate a band who can perform excellently live, but with Nothing But Thieves I find their live appeal is even more appealing to me than their records. Their live sound is far grittier, and whilst perfectly executed, their sound is tremendously raw. James Price’s drums are far more prominent, with leads and riffs courtesy of guitarist Joe Langridge-Brown equate to a much more obnoxiously upbeat and energetic feel. Listening to the band on Spotify is one thing but when I go to see them perform I just want to be in the middle of the action, songs like ‘Itch’ and ‘I’m Not Made by Design’ ignite moshes and frenzy whilst the audience are also eagerly awaiting more of Mason’s superb vocals. The beauty of their live shows is that yes, there can and will be a lot of energy especially with newer material like ‘Live Like Animals’, ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘I Was Just a Kid’ from Broken Machine but fans are also just as excited for the band to tone it down with songs likes of ‘Six Billion’, ‘If I Get High’ and ‘Lover, Please Stay’. The band pull off one hell of a show, their insane talent as a band alongside impressive light-shows and crowd interaction make them one of my top 3 best live acts and whilst I am always excited for their new material, I’m even more so looking forward to hearing it live.


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Psychology student at UoS.

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