The English five piece blast through their debut album with atmospheric ease, filling QUBSU’s Bar-Sub with melodies worthy of Wembley Arena.

In October 2015, after releasing three E.P’s and seven singles, Nothing But Thieves released their self-titled debut album which features a collection of their knockout hits to date along with a host of new tracks that are sure to go on to become fan favourites. Since their formation in 2012, the band have gigged with the likes of Gerard Way, Awolnation, Arcade Fire and Twin Atlantic. Their biggest gig to date was playing Rock in Roma supporting Muse in front of 30,000 people.

However in Belfast they play to a much smaller crowd, Bar-Sub, which has a capacity of 320 people, may not compete against the thousands in Italy, but the passion and drive of the band and fans is evidently still present. Before their sold-out performance begins however we get to hear from HOW, a Northern Irish band that produced a high amount of energy, getting the crowd ready for the headliners.

Not long after Nothing But Thieves took to the stage, kicking off their set with the first song from the album, ‘Excuse Me’, an introduction that perfectly highlights the tenacity in frontman Conor Mason’s voice. This was quickly followed by their praised hit ‘Itch’, the moody ‘Hostage’ and then slowed down for ‘Honey Whiskey’ and ‘Graveyard Whistling’. Next up came on of my favourite tracks from the album, and one that the band have only began to start playing live; ‘Drawing Pins’ is one of the most rhythmic tracks before exploding into an instrumental cavalcade as the song progresses. The band slowed things down once again with a track that didn’t quite make the album; ‘Last Orders’ is a beautiful song highlighting the range in Mason’s voice. This was followed by one of their loudest tracks, ‘Painkiller’, which has a chorus loud enough to blow through the roof.

The Bar-Sub in QUBSU has no backstage, so the band had no option of any sort of believable encore. They finished with two of their fan favourite singles, ‘Trip Switch’ and ‘Wake Up Call’, before taking a moment and returning centre stage to finish up their set. They end the night with another album favourite of mine, ‘Hanging’ before slowing things down for ‘If I Get High’ and their most standout track ‘Ban All The Music’. The most interesting facet of Nothing But Thieves is that they’re genre is pretty hard to pinpoint. In an interview with Dom & Joe (Which you can hear below) before the gig, they couldn’t even really isolate their sound. They mentioned “Atmospheric Rock” but even that seems to only scratch the surface of what Nothing But Thieves are. One thing is or sure, if they continue the way they are, writing wonderful songs both lyrically and instrumentally; that, pared with the brilliance of Conor Mason’s, could see Nothing But Thieves rising to the heights of and even surpassing the likes of Muse.


Corey McKinney

Corey McKinney

Corey McKinney; our resident film buff, presenter of the Film Frequency and Sonic Sessions shows on QR and of course, our Head of Music. Usually found behind the camera lens or in a cinema.
Corey McKinney

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