British rockers Nothing but Thieves transformed Tucson’s 191 Toole from eclectic art space to nightclub at the AZ stop of their nearly sold-out tour.
Atlas was also in attendance at the band’s Chicago date, and we were lucky enough to come back for more. Singer Conor Mason’s voice had recovered from a bout of illness earlier in the month and he put his impressive vocals on full display.
Before the headliners brought the house down, London three-piece Demob Happy opened the evening with their intense indie rock. Singer Matt Marcantonio, guitarist Adam Godfrey and drummer Tom Armstrong created a wall of sound that brought the energy levels up to start things off.
Toronto native grandson took the stage looking visibly angrier than usual, an emotion that sparked a dynamite performance. Signature Trump mask in hand, grandson took even more time between songs to speak about activism and the power of raising your voice to effect real change.
His rage-fueled performance didn’t resonate with the early crowd at first, but grandson had them all jumping by the end. The more subdued Tucson audience was a departure from the manic excitement of the Chicago fans.
“It’s empowerment, it’s accountability, it’s revenge,” he said to introduce the song that made him famous, “Blood//Water.”
Grandson’s message of political involvement and being an informed citizen is more important than ever. It’s clear he’s incredibly passionate about these issues, appearing at a voter registration event in Phoenix the night before his fiery Tucson show.
If Demob Happy and grandson were the opening salvo, Nothing but Thieves was the explosion. The band was on point vocally and instrumentally. Mason’s voice bounced back from previous illness and he seized the moment to show off his ear-shattering falsetto.
The best difference between the Chicago stop and the Tucson stop was the setlist. With Mason’s health back to normal, Nothing but Thieves played the full list of songs, not cutting a few in the middle. The packed venue knew every word as the rowdiest fans made their way to the front to scream with the band.
The beautifully haunting piano version of “Particles” remained a set highlight, mesmerizing the audience before launching into the track’s much heavier conclusion. Hearing the entire space shout “Trip Switch” back to the stage was another epic moment.
Nothing but Thieves has put on one of the best shows in modern rock since their start. Tucson’s surprisingly intimate show was just another reminder of the power behind this band. Every chord hit perfectly for a sold-out night to remember.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel