Y Plas, Cardiff University Students Union, Thurs 4 June
Essex quintet Nothing But Thieves met in school and formed in 2012. Getting a lot of attention at the moment after being signed by RCA Victor last year, they’ve gained massive support from BBC Radio 1, recently being featured on their Live Lounge slot. They’re as intriguing live as they are on the radio, too.
The instrumentals are intricate, honed to a level well beyond their years. The lyrics are heartwrenching, while main man Connor’s vocals can effortlessly flow from an angelic falsetto to a gritty growl reminiscent of primary NBT influence Jeff Buckley. It was obvious that the crowd were, as of yet, still quite unfamiliar with their music but it didn’t seem to take from their enjoyment. It’s hard not to get caught up in such heavy riffs and catchy melodies. Itch and Ban All The Music were especially spectacular live.
Not being a massive fan of Young Guns, I was unsure what to expect – however, I seemed to be the only one. The venue was filled with hardcore merch-sporting fans who pushed their way to the front of the stage. While it feels like these guys have been around forever, their music is something that has to be heard live to be appreciated – which may be the reason as to why they haven’t exactly hit the success some expected of them.
They do, however, put on a good show. Frontman Gustav is extremely charismatic and the band feed off the crowd’s energy. They don’t play to the crowd; rather, they play with the crowd. They hit the stage with a force of energy which kept pace throughout the show. However it did feel a bit like taking a trip back in time: their pop-punk-emo stylings are quintessentially early-noughties. True, nostalgia and music work well together, but for Young Guns, it may have been a good idea to have employed a less fresh-sounding, up and coming band as their support act.
They ended the gig with the title track from their new album Bones, easily their freshest and most standout moment. All this said, there’s no denying the fans enjoyed it. They collectively buzzed with excitement upon leaving the venue, even breaking into a chorus of the very best of Young Guns’ back catalogue outside.
words DENIECE CUSACK