Last night Nothing But Thieves took to the stage for one of two nights at Wembley’s OVO Arena. London has patiently anticipated the return of Nothing But Thieves since their immense Moral Panic tour. Now, on this chilly November evening, 12,500 bodies flock into the warmth of OVO Arena Wembley to welcome the Southend group back to the capital.
Nothing But Thieves
OVO Arena Wembley – 10 November 2023
Words: Lacey Wait
Photography: Antonio Giannattasio
Outside was cold, but inside the air buzzed with a warm and swirling atmosphere as fans settled in to welcome the Southend rock phenomenon. For their Dead Club City London debut, the anticipation was high and undeniable.
The atmosphere on the floor swirls with excitement. Dead Club Radio pulls to a halt, muted red lights descend, and Nothing But Thieves hits the stage. The air is pure static.
Poised yet eager to celebrate their fourth album, the band erupt into Dead Club City’s flagship track: Welcome To The DCC. When it drops, the crowd become an unbreakable bouncing force which alone is a sight to behold. Everything bleeds red as they breathe life into the DCC. We are officially initiated into their world.
A string of hits from their three most recent records follows, with dashes of Moral Panic and sprinkles of Broken Machine. The iconic blend comes much to the delight of dedicated spectators below.
The way Nothing But Thieves conducts a room is really something else. Fans devour every move from endearingly flamboyant frontman Connor Mason. He kicks, he twirls, and he flaunts his charisma with such conviction while penetrating every corner of the arena with his other-worldly vocal talents.
While the band behind are Mason’s vessel to soar, they, too have their individual shimmering moments. Number 13 rounds off with a band jam caked in gritty guitar duos from Joe Langridge-Brown and Dom Craik.
As the energy in the room levels up, so do the band. To say they “play” is an understatement. They execute a jam-packed set with inch-perfect precision and leave no room for wishing they’d done more.
But after such sonic intensity, the band led us into reflection. They take us back to the very start with Lover, Please Stay. A particularly enchanting moment manifests as the crowd sings their hearts out louder than Wembley Stadium on game day. Very few eyes remain dry. The love for this band is undeniable and pulsates through the people.
After eighteen songs, they vacate the rouge ambience of the stage. But of course, it’s not enough and the crowd cheer for more. They return to encore with Amsterdam. It wouldn’t be a modern-day gig if they hadn’t saved it for last. Once again, the reception is deafening, with not a quiet voice among the crowd.
The first sold-out night at Wembley for Nothing But Thieves can only be described as triumphant. They flaunt their new identity as a band through Dead Club City but reassuringly prove to us that they are still the same people who gave us Nothing But Thieves almost ten years ago.
And they’ll continue to evolve, always unchanging.
Mancunian art rock band Everything Everything comes as an unexpected opener. A new name to many Nothing But Thieves fans, they serve as the perfect hype band. Their electric sequences sweep through the crowd to settle us in perfect harmony – ready for the main event.
Everything (everything) they do leaves the audience stunned, from rapping, multi-instrument solos, and incessantly quirky lyrics.
The building pressure of their bass grips deep in our throats. Though their set is only short with seven songs, it’s enough to gear us up and gain fans among the 12,000 in front of them.
Before exiting in a flurry of synths and undulating instrumentals, lead singer Jonathan Higgs comments on how packed out the venue is. He revels over us squashed in like anticipatory sardines, and we are certain the night will be unforgettable.