“Hello and welcome to the Nothing But Thieves live stream bonanza,”, charming frontman Conor Mason smiles into the camera, marking the indie five-piece as the latest group to hop on the live stream train, where virtual gigs have become the new concerts, the new normal. Live but unfortunately not in person from the very secret The Warehouse in London, Nothing But Thieves have come to not only give their fans one night of glamouring live music but three, each fitted for different time zones..
Just a few days after the release of their latest hit record ‘Moral Panic’, the shows feel like a well-deserved break from the dreary and dark place the world has become. With an effortless mix of both old and new songs, each set is packed with dazzling surprises, be it in the form of stunning visuals, quiet acoustic performances on the “intimate” part of the stage setup, or magnificent covers of the bands’ favourite songs (greetings to Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac and Gang of Youths). Standing in a circle and facing each other rather than the non-existing crowd, Nothing But Thieves never fail to hold the energy at its highest high, with frontman Mason’s raw, hypnotic voice leading through each set, while being perfectly accompanied by the faultless instrumentals from his bandmates.
But obviously, it wouldn’t be a Nothing But Thieves gig without a bit of banter, with Mason continuously making use of a soundboard packed with built-in applause and the odd “And his name is John Cena” soundbite. “Dom prepared this for me to help me boost my ego,”, Mason jokes before jumping seamlessly into the next song, dancing to the repetitive beats of drummer James Price and the vivid strokes coming from guitarists Joe Langridge-Brown and Dominic Craik and bassist Philip Blake. And while older hits like ‘Amsterdam’, ‘Itch’ and ‘Sorry’ remind us why NBT are considered one of the most striking bands out there right now, it’s the newer tracks like ‘Free If We Want It’, ‘Impossible’ and ‘This Feels Like The End’ that make us step out of reality for a few minutes and lose ourselves in the music.
Even through a screen and with many miles separating the band from their dedicated audience, Nothing But Thieves manage to create real moments of real live music. And while on the one hand that makes us miss concerts more than ever before, it also reminds us that live music will be back – and better than ever.