Nothing But Thieves have had a whirlwind of a year which has seen them grow as a band in leaps and bounds. The last twelve months have seen them playing at festivals that they could only have dreamt of when they first formed in 2012, the release of their hugely successful self-titled debut album and scoring support slots on Muse’s huge UK tour. Tonight they are playing at the O2 Institute in Digbeth, which is the first of two Birmingham dates this week for them.
Exeter three-piece, Black Foxxes were the first act on stage tonight performing a mind blowing set that energised the audience ready for the rest of the evening. I’ve already been impressed in the past six months by their debut EP Pines and latest single Husk, but seeing their live show truly did add a whole new dimension to the band. Black Foxxes are clearly passionate about their live shows and tonight put their all into one of the heaviest and tightest performances that I’ve seen in ages, which adds a whole new degree of rawness to their angsty British rock. If there is one new band this year that I urge everyone to check out, it is these guys; you will not be disappointed.
Next up were free spirited indie band Sundara Karma, who hail from Reading. I must admit, with a name like Sundara Karma, which roughly translates as ‘Beautiful Karma’; I was expecting them to be rather psychedelic, but I was pleasantly surprised with their Bruce Springsteen inspired indie vibes; think Springsteen meets Swim Deep. Youthful rebellion and playfulness ran throughout their set, which possibly could have isolated some of the older members of the audience; however, their glitteringly catchy songs and general sense of euphoria seemed to somehow draw everyone into their show, which was superb.
By the the end of Sundara Karma’s set there was already a colossal buzz of excitement travelling around the room, and this was only heightened when headliners, Nothing But Thieves took to the stage. The lads opened with one of their most popular tracks Itch, closely followed by upbeat number Painkiller; which gave their set an energetic start. By the time they performed third track, Hostage, I was completely drawn in. There is just something so beautifully well balanced about the band, both in their performance and songwriting. In songwriting, it’s a perfect balance of the darkness of the world with the light; and on stage, it’s a perfect balance between those delicate, emotional hints and powerful, anthemic highlights.
The band also gave a nod to one of their favourite artists, Pixies, by playing a near perfect cover of Where Is my Mind? As they closed their set on bouncy number, Wake Up Call, it was clear from all the cheering and clapping that the audience didn’t want the night to end there; which was just as well, as the band returned for a trio of songs to end the night on a high; If I Get High, Trip Switch and Ban All the Music. Although still relatively early into their career, tonight’s unique and refreshing show is a clear indication that Nothing But Thieves are already destined for musical greatness.