Saturday, 1 February 2014

Live Show - Nothing But Thieves / The Ruby Dukes

Where: Stoke-on-Trent
Venue: The Sugarmill

As the night rolled on it was time for Southend-on-Sea exports Nothing But Thieves to grace the stage. They were placed conventionally with the singer in the middle at the front with guitarists on each side, and the bassist and drummer behind. The guitarist on the left had the bassist directly behind him, which at first seemed quite off putting. However Nothing But Thieves made good use of their set. Each song differed from the other, yet they had a lot more energy in my eyes than the previous bands did in their music. This was a strong attraction, but held back by their lack of crowd interaction.

The singer (Conor) was a great asset - his voice was the most unique out of all the performances tonight. It's angelic and powerful, but he did show off to an extent when he started wailing his vocals, it proves he has got a good voice, but still, rather annoying when plentiful. The sound was very solid, the instrumental section was spot on, and nothing seemed out of place. It was catchy and somewhat ambient, yet it had energy, it sounds like it makes no sense I know. The guitar tones were soft and the harmonies matched to give the live performance mixed atmospheres. I managed to hear “Emergency” before the gig, and it was brilliant live. Their set was a nice introduction to the simple but glistening sound they have. The vocal harmonies were done and the choruses were catchy, they were a favourable band to bring to Stoke's music scene – as seen by the crowd who watched and enjoyed, but still there was opportunity for more involvement and interaction that could've improved their atmosphere. That aside, there was this good vibe I got from Nothing But Thieves, if they get more songs under their belt, and also longer sets, then I think they can go places.

The band that came on before Camp Stag (who we didn't see) are Stoke locals named The Ruby Dukes. Riding high from their award win at the 6 Towns Awards last week, they were highly anticipated to put on an exciting show. They had a good stage presence and reception, which would be fairly typical as they are from these parts. The Ruby Dukes reminded me of Kasabian, with a slight pinch of Oasis with their aesthetical look. The vocalist performed well, however asking the crowd to clap on consistent occasions wore off some of the ambition of the crowd to join in, and it got to the point where his clapping was completely out of rhythm, and it perhaps comically confused a few audience members.

The guitarist on the left was lively, even though at the start of the set with the first few songs you couldn't hear his backing vocals when he played his guitar, but that problem disappeared. They got a decent crowd following them, but didn't have a strong response compared to Moral Panics, who played earlier in the night. It was a little bit lively on stage, which is nice to see for some reactions from the crowd. These had a decent stage presence, though it seemed divided as the left hand of the stage was by far more lively then the other half. It was instrumentally balanced though, and vocals followed suit, which was a splendid performance musically. Even though the performance overall wasn't as good as I anticipated, it was still good enough to draw attention.
~Matthew Clewley

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