I have never seen an audience as anxious as the crowd gathered in wait for Nothing But Thieves’ show at Paradise Rock Club. After waiting on a line that twisted around city blocks and waiting the two hours between when doors and the band was set to go on stage, the crowd was audibly counting down until 9pm. Due to car trouble, the opening band, Demob Happy, was unable to make the show, so the audience stood waiting, the anticipation building.
When the band finally took the stage, the audience belted along with lead singer Conor Mason to the opening song, “I Was Just a Kid.” Mason sang through a few songs from the band’s self-titled debut album, hitting every impossibly high note with ease and floating through riffs and runs. The swirling, flashing lights and chaotic yet atmospheric melodies created an electric energy throughout the venue. Despite the small size—Mason commented that the space was so intimate that he could see everyone’s space—the band had the stage presence of a practiced stadium rock band.
Even through ballads like “If I Get High,” the audience was in constant motion in time with Mason’s crooning. When the band played their newest single, the gritty “Forever & Ever More,” the crowd already knew every word and shouted along to the frantic chorus with the band. The band closed out their show with “Amsterdam.” The desperation in Mason’s vocals mirrored that of the crowd as they tried to take in the last bit of an excellent performance by Nothing But Thieves.