Nothing But Thieves @ Corner Hotel

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On the back of their rollicking 2017 album Broken Machine, Nothing But Thieves hit our shores as part of their world tour. We should all be thankful they did. Their lively show covered all high points of their two albums, with an excellent acoustic section in the middle showing their range outside of the usual sound.

Starting strong with ‘I’m Not Made by Design’, the tone of the gig was set early. The band’s energy was infectious, despite apparently being very jet lagged and all being “asleep on the couches like ten minutes ago” according to frontman Conor Mason.

That seemed almost impossible to believe, as the band moved on to the up-tempo ‘Live Like Animals’ to complete their opening one-two punch. Jet lagged be damned, the fellas from Essex were here to bring it.

As the set progressed, only two things remained constant. The excellent music, and Mason’s free-flowing interactions with the crowd, stopping for a quick chat every couple of songs. It brought a new level of intimacy to the gig, on top of the fact that there was not a spare centimetre in the house.

The instrumentation was very tight throughout, and their playing ability can hardly be faulted. A three-guitar attack was the way for the majority of the show, however some keys occasionally made an appearance, with drummer James Price keeping time all the way with his clean and uncomplicated style.

Towards the end of the main part of the set the show got a little acoustic, culminating in a stirring solo rendition of Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’ – just about the greatest crowd singalong song ever written (apologies to ‘Hey Jude’). The main set was rounded out by ‘Sorry’, Nothing But Thieves’ own singalong ballad which everyone got involved in.

When it came to encore time, there was only one song everyone was waiting for – Broken Machine’s lead single, ‘Amsterdam’. The conspiracy theorist in me firmly believes that the main set was closed with a run of ballads just so the crowd could save their energy for ‘Amsterdam’, because it seems like that’s exactly what happened. To say that it went off would be a gross understatement.

When the music stopped and the crowd cheered as they took a bow, it was hard not to believe Nothing But Thieves are a band destined for great things.

Highlight: Mason’s crowd banter.
Lowlight: Fuck that pole in the middle of the Corner.
Crowd favourite: ‘Amsterdam’.