published: 25 /
Billy Seagrave watches rising five-piece alternative rock band Nothing But Thieves play a dynamic set to promote their self-titled debut album at the Academy 3 in Manchester
Let me take you on a short journey back in time, the 6th June this year to be precise, downstairs in the Academy 3. This was where I first encountered tonight’s band Nothing but Thieves, who supported Young Guns on a very extensive tour. It was no surprise that off the back of the set that evening then a headline tour beckoned for them.
Back to the future, this gig was almost immediately a sell-out, the room has a capacity for about 180 people and an intimate gig is in the offering.
Hailing from Southend-on-Sea and formed in 2012, Nothing But Thieves consist of Conor Mason on vocals, Joe Langridge-Brown and Dom Craik on guitar, Philip Blake on bass and James Price on drums. The tour is to showcase their eponymous album 'Nothing but Thieves'.
One of the things I have learnt over the years is that there is a reason you get to venues early...to see the support act! Pretty Vicious are the support for the evening and do an excellent job in setting what is fast becoming an electric atmosphere (Make a note of them and get out to see them now. This band have already supported the Manic Street Preachers on tour as well as being confirmed to support The Vaccines on their upcoming tour).
Back to Nothing but Thieves; The song 'Excuse Me' is the perfect opener for a band that are setting the standards high. There is an almost eerie edge to the beginning that is interspersed with killer guitar and a chorus that is sung back to the band in a manner that if anyone came in at that moment they would have thought it was the night's encore.
The venue is absolutely rocking as we are treated to 'Honey Whiskey' and the laid back 'Graveyard Whistling'. Nothing But Thieves are delivering a set that has the crowd in a wild frenzy. Surely this type of adoration is only offered to artists that have a long established following. I feel something special is developing here.
Conor Mason has a voice that should make him one of the best front men in recent years. The delivery of every song drags you in and has you hanging onto every word. Conor is not alone in what is being delivered, as the band are no bit part players. This is what seems to set them apart from the mainstream. Driven guitars, booming bass and banging drums work in and around Conor and his vocal prowess.
The only reservation I have is if this room still be standing at the end of the set! Not only are Nothing But Thieves blasting the walls apart and threatening to take the roof off. The crowd have become the twelfth man and fully playing their part in holding an electric atmosphere.
Conor dedicates 'If I Get High' to the fans and delivers a vocal masterclass that more than matched by a band that is so in tune with each other. 'Painkiller' is seamlessly delivered, with an edge and swagger that suggests this will become a future band anthem. 'Trip Switch' keeps everything flowing followed by the single 'Wake Up Call'.
The evening has to eventually come to an end. Fittingly, inevitably, 'Ban All the Music' closes the show.
The band provide and deliver a performance that is immense. All who have attended not only this gig but also this tour have left happy in the knowledge that we have seen a band that will be playing bigger better venues in the future. This time last year in the same room to another packed audience I covered James Bay. Will Nothing But Thieves follow in his success? Only time will tell. They get my vote.
Photographs by Billy Seagrave