It’s been five long years since British rockers Nothing But Thieves (NBT) graced Toronto with their powerful live show. This was the fifth stop on the North American leg and the only Canadian date of their “Dead Club City Tour.” Some eager fans for the sold-out event even lined up early in the morning for those coveted GA spots right up front at the rail. The 19-song career-spanning setlist walked fans through the cream of the crop from all of their full-length albums.
Going back to 2015 and their debut self-titled Nothing But Thieves, all the way forward to the 2023 synthesizer-heavy concept album, Dead Club City. When all of the axe-wielding band members each have a synth at their stations, you know you’re going to be immersed in the warm embrace of soaring keys. Guitarists Joe Langridge-Brown and Dominic Craik, along with bassist Philip Blake and drummer James Price, expertly worked their magic on the NBT complex and diverse catalogue.
The band opened with the first track off Dead Club City, “Welcome to the DCC.” Frontman Conor Mason rolled out his signature higher register vocal work out of the gate. While working the mic and breezing around the stage, reminiscent of the stage presence of Jim Morrison, the magnetic vocalist from The Doors.
Early on, frontman Conor Mason was bantering with the fans: “I’m not going to shout at you; I’m going to speak softly. Because I had an entanglement with an air conditioning machine yesterday that decided to strip me of my voice. So I’m just going to speak to you. So I can sing my balls off!”
While Mason did give the fans ample opportunity to sing by turning his microphone on the stand toward them if he didn’t mention the air conditioner episode, his singing voice wouldn’t have given it away. Mason can craft a Raspy, soft, almost falsetto high, powerful and ever-changing vibe throughout a single song, Mason masterfully works his vocal chops to give NBT their unique sound. And the band brings all the technical work and energy captured on their albums to the stage with arguably even more room and head-filling depth and power.
Standout tracks for the show were “Tomorrow Is Closed,” “Broken Machine,” “Sorry,” one of their first singles, “Trip Switch,” “Futureproof,” and “Pop the Balloon, with its Jekyll and Hyde heavy guitar vibe and the second encore song, “Amsterdam.”
Opening the show was Kid Kapichi. The UK rock band hit the stage to an almost full house. And the crowd clearly knew who they were as they showed them nearly the level of love given to NBT. It was a solid two-band bill that gave the fans a start-to-finish kick-ass night out.
Nothing But Thieves Toronto Setlist:
Welcome to the DCC
Is Everybody Going Crazy?
Tomorrow Is Closed
Real Love Song
Keeping You Around
Life’s Coming in Slow
Do You Love Me Yet?
Green Eyes :: Siena
Pop The Balloon