Monday brought Nothing But Thieves, Missio, and Airways to the Fine Line Music Café for an absolutely sold out show. This was my third show at the Fine Line in the last month and this is the most people I’ve seen in here. The show started off with Airways, who is promoting their debut EP Starting to Spin, that they released in May of this year after officially forming last year. They come from Peterborough, UK. My favorite track off their new EP, “Mate” sounds a lot like the Arctic Monkey’s with a seasoning of Circa Waves. Some of their songs, like their title track, “Starting to Spin” are stripped down, less reverbed, and have more of an electronic backing. Overall, there is a lot of potential with the band. Looking forward to seeing how they follow up Starting to Spin.
MISSIO came out to an incredible bassy intro for “I Do What I Want” and they hit it hard. Heavy bass. I will say right off the bat, this is already the most bass and vibrations I’ve experienced in the recent history of my music going career. I’ve been to EDM concerts, and this literally shook me to my core. The band comes from Austin, TX and consists of Matthew Brue and David Butler. They brought on Jaydon Bean to drum for the tour, but MISSIO is considered a duo. They released their debut LP, Loner, with RCA records in May of this year and it’s fantastic. They have a great heavy electronic sound. Matthew’s voice is strong, untouched, only slightly, if ever, modified and it’s fantastic. As they jumped into “I Don’t Even Care About You”, I had to take out my earplugs because it kept tickling my brain. In short, it was an experience.
After they did “KDV”, Matt addressed the crowd, expressing that they talk about addiction, depression, and life so that you know that you can always talk to someone, even them after the show, and they’ll be there for you. I found it really genuine. After the show there was a long line of people wanting to talk to Matt and David. This is a band soaring there way up, they played SXSW the year after they formed in 2015, and they take the time to appreciate their fans. They were even messaging me on Instagram during the show. They really care about their fans and that is doing them a lot of good.
They jumped into one of their big singles from this year, “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea.” everyone knows the lyrics, it makes for an incredible environment when Matt sticks the microphone out into the crowd and they chant along. They did some atmospheric sounds, which I thought was really cool. They jam in their own way, it was very awesome.
They ended their set with another banger single from their new album, “Middle Fingers”. Matt gave a speech about entering into a room filled with different people, from different backgrounds, ethnicities, political affiliations, and not caring, not giving a fuck, “Isn’t that beautiful?” he says to a roaring crowd. Everyone put up there middle fingers and MISSIO gave it their all. The crowd is cheering as they left. A great opener. Really got everyone amped up for Nothing But Thieves.
As everyone anxiously awaits the coming of “NBT”, the couple behind me is talking about how they drove from central Wisconsin to be here today and is very excited. They overhear another couple from Wisconsin and make friends immediately. Shout out to Hannah and Nate, and Ang for schooling me on what the cool kids listen to these days. It’s an 18+ show. The people in the front, minus the one couple that was probably in their 50’s, was all younger with X’s on their hands.
Nothing But Thieves came out to a roar from the crowd. The crowd has been waiting for this all night, and they would not be disappointed. Nothing But Thieves formed in 2012. They come from Southend, Essex in England. They have such a great sound, and it really comes from Conor Mason (lead vocals, guitar), who I think sounds like if Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries and Maynard James Keenan of Tool / A Perfect Circle, had a vocal baby.
Conor has an incredible voice and it’s backed up very well by Dominic Craik (guitar, keys), and Joe Landgridge-Brown (guitar). Joe’s is wearing a plaid shirt that is about three sizes too big, his attire screams what I can only describe as a neo-grunge look, I dig it. That’s really the heart of their band, they sound like they could be from the mid 90’s but they are fresh, current. Between James Price’s incredible drumming and Philip Blake strumming the bass, they kept the tempo hopping and heavy, great bassy licks. There is a substantial amount required of Price on drums, who is sporting a Prince t-shirt, and he makes it look like nothing.
After conveying some notes to the mixer, NBT was off the races. They started out big with “I’m Not Made by Design” and “Live Like Animals” into their acclaimed single, “Trip Switch” which is really what got them noticed by Muse last year and earned them an opening spot on their stadium tour and really propelled into the spotlight in the UK and have helped them start to sell out in the US (tonight is a prime example). They jump into their favorite song from their new album, “Soda“. The opening sounds a lot like “Where is My Mind?” by The Pixies. It’s a great song.
The crowd is loving them, as they get into “Drawing Pins” the crowd is chanting the chorus. Joe likes the sound spotlight from time to time, he’ll punch in his guitar much louder than the vocals from time to time and I think it’s out of respect for Joe that Conor allows the focus to be on Joe. The opposite happens on their song “Graveyard Whistling”, from their last album. Conor gets to showcase his voice in this track, it’s truly incredible. The song has a really soft melody. It’s a perfect song for them as a band. It showcases all of their talents as a band, the faint chorus with Dominic backing as the song picks up the pace and hits the chorus, they show their true power as a band as the crowd is chanting the hook “never do you harm”, the lead guitar and rhyme back her up. It’s a special moment.
After they play “Get Better”, that had an absolutely banging bass line, Conor says they played it because it was requested, one of the audience members starts shouting “Honey Whiskey” after every song. Others start to yell out “Number 13”. I haven’t been to a show this year where this has happened, people yelling out requests. Conor laughs and they keep going on into “Itch” which has everyone clapping and yelling out the lines, another audience favorite. I would say an MO for Conor, and it shows through on this song in particular, is sort of grabs the microphone and hangs from it. There is such a great vibrato in his voice during “Itch” into the hook of the song. As the song closed out, Conor sits down next to the drummer as Dominik and Joe face off at the front of the stage and riff with each other. It was fantastic.
They finish the jam session going into “If I Get High” which is a really beautiful ballad that Conor get to showcase his beautiful voice on. The band backs him up incredibly. I will reiterate that Conor’s voice is incredible in this song from their last, self-titled album. Conor, after pointing out a couple in the previous song, asked the guy in the crowd for his hat, he gladly threw it up to him. Great moment.
They jump into Broken Machines, the title track from their new album. They crowd loves it. The whole crowd is yelling along to the chorus. As Conor fades out the song, he stands up there by himself with an acoustic guitar and start to sing Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” and absolutely nails it. The whole room is singing the chorus with him. He uses some very talented guitar work and really hits those high notes. He jumps into “Hell, Yeah” by himself over the track. This is yet another fantastic track that shows off his vocal power. The band comes on for “Ban All The Music” and as they finish with the guitars doing battle in the front of the stage, they do a quick huddle by the drums. They decide to finally appease the audience member that keeps yelling “Honey Whiskey” and everyone goes wild. Conor says they just winged it and honestly, they did a great job. Now the whole crowd is yelling request. They play “Sorry”, another great song from their new album, and leave.
The crowd chants NBT for a few minutes and they come back for a second encore. They jump into “Particles” and the bass rumbles something fierce. His voice is still going strong and he’s giving it his all. I think it’s very rare to find what we got from Nothing But Thieves and especially what we got from Conor. I hope Nothing But Thieves continue to sell out in the US. They finish their second encore with “Amsterdam“. Conor thanks the crowd profusely and says they’ll be back, and I for one, truly hope so.
Nothing But Thieves setlist:
- I’m Not Made by Design
- Live Like Animals
- Trip Switch
- Wake Up Call
- Drawing Pins
- Graveyard Whistling
- I Was Just a Kid
- Get Better
- If I Get High
- Broken Machine
- Free Fallin’ (Cover of Tom Petty)
- Hell, Yeah
- Ban All the Music
- Honey Whiskey
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