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LIVE: Nothing But Thieves @ Swansea Arena

Tuesday marked the heartwarming return to Wales for Essex boys Nothing But Thieves. The quintet took to Swansea Arena and were greeted by a wave of fans who were there to celebrate the release of their fourth studio album Dead Club City, and after having cancelled previous shows due to illness, Nothing But Thieves come back on top form. 

From the outset they throw us into this futuristic world of Dead Club City, with a Blade Runner-esque flair which complements the atmospheric structure of their production; they transport us to their new world with the soundwaves from Dead Club Radio; broadcasting across the Arena as if we were listening into Dead Club City’s local station; from The Hives to Electric Light Orchestra, and the teasing of their live session, of course, that being Nothing But Thieves. 

Cup of tea in hand, Conor Mason steps towards the microphone, obviously incredibly happy to be back on stage as they launch into opening track Welcome to the DCC; a romance between genres - synth-rock-pop-dance, a real welcome to the new world they’ve lived in since the creation of Dead Club City. 

Nothing But Thieves break genre-defying boundaries with a brooding performance full of emotional depth and sonically rich landscapes; they dance between fan favourites such as Broken Machine and Trip Switch to tracks taken from their recent album such as the punching Do You Love Me Yet? and the explosive end track Pop The Balloon. Paired with an absolutely electric performance of Ce n'est Rien/Gods/Number 13 from the rest of the boys; a fuzzy five minute mash-up of three tracks that highlight their career defying sounds. My personal favourite was City Haunts, a swaggering and seductive track taken from their recent record; it’s one I love screaming along to whilst driving but it’s one I struggle with but for Conor it was no problem, even after taking time off he consistently hit those jaw dropping high notes vocalists only dream of.  Lover, Please Stay was a hauntingly beautiful moment in the set, three minutes of admiration and pure enchantment from the crowd, eyes locked on frontman Conor Mason, a mastermind in songwriting wielding the power to hypnotise with emotional intensity and utterly soulful vocals; showcasing a raw and utterly authentic delivery that Nothing But Thieves have always been known for. 

DJ Ötzi’s Hey Baby greets the band as they return to stage, coming to end what was a beautifully energetic evening, Conor replies to the crowd with a grin, “yes, I will be your girl Swansea” and begins the encore with the classic 2017 hit single Amsterdam. Overcome finishes the night, a glorious three minute indie rock track made for festival stages; it’s bittersweet, as the night comes to a close, yet equally uplifting. A sense of euphoria envelopes the arena, carrying a message of hope and escapism; smiles widen, arms raise, and a chorus of “we shall overcome, as we've done beforebounces off the walls. Having seen them in Cardiff at the Moral Panic pitstop, to now at their debut performance in Swansea, the band continue their trajectory to the top - so what’s to come for a band already at their peak?

Words/Image: Tate Powell


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