Live Review: Nothing But Thieves, Strangers

21 July 2016 | 3:35 pm | Dearna Mulvaney

"Their dreamy, dark sound is met with a polished, electric live show befitting an arena."

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Sydney rock outfit Strangers perform with an arrogance befitting their musical ability. Their sound is low and heavy guitar-driven rock with a danceable beat and powerful vocals. From behind his mic, frontman Ben Britton stares across the room, breaking his glare with a smile when he notices people grooving along.  Britton jumps onto the floor, splitting the pit wide open before stalking over to the sound desk and back again. The four-piece play a bunch of tracks off their unreleased second album. The set thunders by like a steady burn and the crowd headbang along. Britton tells us about his battles with depression and how he required medication. "I'm not ashamed," he says before telling us he was a "walking zombie". "The whole record was a recovery process," he adds before diving into the last song of the set.  

Nothing But Thieves are decked out in black and hit the stage to a roar of cheers from their sold out crowd. This English five-piece don't waste any time as they launch into Itch, which bleeds into Painkiller followed up by Hostage. We go nuts. People dance, sing and try to squeeze their way closer to the stage. Frontman Conor Mason isn't afraid to show off his impressive vocal range, doing little vocal runs between songs to cover the tuning guitars. "G'day," Mason attempts to say. "Give me a break, I had to say it! It's our first time in Australia. Thank you for being patient and waiting to see us." There is a sense of awe coming from the band since they're playing a show on the other side of the world to a room full of diehard fans. The smiles never drop from their faces.  

Nothing But Thieves' alternative-rock sound is an amalgamation of influences — Muse, Arcade Fire, Mutemath, Jeff Buckley and Led Zeppelin to name a few. Mason's vocal stands up next to powerhouse vocalists such as Paul Meany and Matt Bellamy, no problem. Their dreamy, dark sound is met with a polished, electric live show befitting an arena. The set rolls on with fan favourites Trip Switch, If I Get High, Wake Up Call, Excuse Me and Honey Whiskey. They even throw in a cover of Pixies classic Where Is My Mind?

"Melbourne, thank you for making our first ever Australian show amazing!" Mason calls out before their set comes to a close. What a crazy, packed and sweaty show. Next time they tour Australia, this quintet will fill stadiums.

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