Nothing But Thieves Bring The Rock ‘N’ Roll To A Pop-Heavy Glastonbury 2024

The lineup for Glastonbury Festival is always a subject of great debate. Kicking off in 1970 as the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival, and with genres of contemporary music shifting over the decades, the 2024 edition has been noteworthy for its pop-lean. And so it’s refreshing as Southend-hailing rockers Nothing But Thieves – currently touring with Green Day no less – take to The Other Stage on Sunday afternoon for a masterclass in festival rock delivery. And with four LPs to their catalogue now, there’s much to lean on.

Nothing But Thieves @ Glastonbury Festival 2024

Nothing But Thieves @ Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)
Nothing But Thieves @ Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

80s-influenced, synth-infused Oh No :: He Said What? from 2023 LP Dead Club City kicks off the music, storming bass lines accenting frontman Conor Mason’s falsetto perfectly and encouraging the Other Stage field to bounce from the off, Michael Jackson’s Thriller reminiscent. 2021 single Futureproof has Dominic Craik largely ditching his synths to add additional crunchy guitars as Nirvana t-shirt-wearing Joe Langridge-Brown steps his guitars up a level as well. The groove of Is Everybody Going Crazy? is one of a number of tunes in today’s set that evoke Queens Of The Stone Age instrumentation.

New LP tune Tomorrow Is Closed, offers the first delicate touch from the five-piece, if you can call a bouncy tune filled with jangly guitars delicate! “That’s more like it, looking beautiful out there Glastonbury!” Mason encourages, as the crowd get into full swing, customary Glasto flags waving as a handful of folks make their way onto friends’ (and parents’) shoulders, James Price’s drums keeping the tempo high.

“Wow, wow, wow, you can’t beat a Glastonbury crowd!” Mason shouts, soaking up the size of the audience that have skipped the likes of “legend” Shania Twain on the Pyramid or Alvvays on Woodsies to catch their set, albeit with cowboy hats aplenty in this crowd. “It’s a cliché but it’s a fucking dream to play on this stage, so thank you” he continues before the troup dive into debut LP tune Trip Switch, the frontman handing vocal duties over to his audience at every opportunity, sparse instrumentation allowing for Craik’s soaring guitars and Philip Blake’s driving bass to dominate.

“I’ve got you in my ears, I can hear you all singing along” Mason shares, fiddling with his in-ear monitors. “Some of you are really, really good” he states drily, grinning out at the massive crowd before enlisting them all (good singing or bad) for gorgeous Moral Panic single Impossible. “I want to set a Glastonbury record for the amount of people on shoulders” he requests mid-tune, and we oblige of course, the exact count indiscernible unfortunately for any official Guinness records to be achieved.

Welcome To The DCC lifts the tempo once more, guitars, synths and its undulating driving rhythm has the crowd bouncing before the frontman encourages mosh pits to be formed for hard rock tune Unperson, the energised crowd needing only the slightest of prompts to bounce hard off one another.

An instrumental break allows for Mason to depart the stage while the remaining four blast through a medley of Ce n’est Rien, Gods and Number 13, the frontman returning adorning a guitar for the first time in the set. “I realise this is televised, I think my Nan is watching. Sorry Nan, I swear so much, but I fucking love it so …” he grins cheekily as they dive into slowly-rising Broken Machine tune Sorry, Mason turning his own mic towards the crowd for them to sing, before it’s taken up a level with I’m Not Made By Design.

“We’re going to play our favourite song on the setlist” the 31-year-old frontman offers, strapping on an acoustic guitar before the haunting oohs begin atop his strumming of those hallowed four chords that make up the core foundation of Pixies’ huge 1988 single Where Is My Mind? the perfect choice for this Sunday afternoon.

The massive Amsterdam and pop hook-laden new LP tune Overcome round out Nothing But Thieves’ rousing set for what is truly one of the highlights of this Glastonbury Festival. “Glastonbury, we loved every fucking minute of that, thank you so much!” Mason gushes with warming sincerity. The only misstep, perhaps, is the omission of Moral Panic favourite Real Love Song. But there is only so much a band can squeeze into a tight 60 minute set with a massive LED clock facing you on stage, ticking down your remaining minutes before the stage has to be cleared for the next act up – the crowd-amassing Avril Lavigne in this case.

Live review & photography of Nothing But Thieves at Glastonbury Festival 2024 by Kalpesh Patel

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