SOLD OUT! Nothing But Thieves w/ grandson & Demob Happy

Tue Oct 2 2018

8:00 PM (Doors 7:00 PM)

The Basement East

917 Woodland St Nashville, TN 37206

$18 ADV / $20 DOS

Ages 18+

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SOLD OUT! Nothing But Thieves w/ grandson & Demob Happy

  • Sold out
  • Nothing But Thieves

    Nothing But Thieves


    The Japanese art of kintsugi is to take something broken and make it more beautiful than before; shards of ceramic put back together with gold-flecked glue, the cracks a proud part of the object. It's a concept that's central to Broken Machine, the second album from Southend-formed, South-east-based five-piece Nothing But Thieves, whose slow-burning self-titled 2015 debut made them a big deal worldwide -- but fractured them too.

     That debut album found fans in foreign territories first, from Korea to Japan, the States and Europe, and gained the young band respect from pillars of the modern rock community -- among them Muse, who took them out as support band on their 2016 arena tour. When the album campaign came to an end in December last year, it was marked with a celebratory homecoming headline gig at landmark venue O2 Academy Brixton -- a sure sign that the UK had caught up. "It was a real moment to reflect," says frontman Conor Mason. "We went to school together. We started playing in [guitarist Dom Craik's] garage together. Now we're playing Brixton together, somewhere we've been thousands of times over the years to see bands."

    As well as being a celebration, the end of the tour was a relief too. Fearful of the dreaded 'second album slump,' Nothing But Thieves spent two years on the road working on the follow-up to their debut, and recorded swathes of it while touring America.

    "I was really struggling with the whole lack of sleep and being away on the road for a year straight," says Conor. "I had so many conversations with the guys about it; I remember getting home from this long stretch, seven months, and thinking, 'I don't know if I can do this any more, I'm losing my mind.' Everything was just a struggle for us but these guys really helped me through it more than anything -- because I felt like if I didn't get their support I wouldn't have wanted to continue. It affected us in terms of what we wanted to put out for this next album. I like that in that hard time we've come out with a few songs about it, turning something really dark into something quite beautiful."

    The experience -- turning personal unravelling into a shared experience -- informed the record they were making. Feeling the way they did, and reacting to the growing uncertainty in the world around them, Nothing But Thieves began to construct an album that revolved around a theme: systems of control. It's an album fuelled equally by late night discussions about the big stuff in life and by falling into YouTube wormholes watching clips of the radical orator Christopher Hitchins. In real terms, it means they've absorbed the big issues of the day and spat them out as fully formed anthems.

    Among them are kinetic title track Broken Machine, the anthemic Sorry and the escapist fantasy Amsterdam, the storming song with which the band announced their return. "It's about being enclosed and frustrated," says Conor, "That lyric 'I left my heart in Amsterdam' was us thinking, 'That might be the end of it...'"

    "We didn't set out to write a concept album, but it's as close to a concept album as we could go without making one," says Joe. "It's about systems we perceive to be automatic but when you actually look at them, they really aren't, whether that's mental health, religion, the political system -- just challenging those systems. When you're writing an album it's a snapshot of the times. If you're writing an album in 2016, 2017, you're going to write about Trump and Brexit and mental health. I think you'd be doing yourself and everyone else a disservice if politics wasn't referenced in some way."

    Though written on the road, the album was chiselled into shape in the early months of 2017. Armed with 90 percent of a record in well-polished demos, they took off to an AirBnB in Hastings, set up a studio for a week, and even performed an acoustic gig for their dinner at a local pub. They then took the demos to producer Mike Crossey, famed for his work on Arctic Monkeys' second album, among many others, and described by Dom as "creative, inventive, fearless and calm," and worked on the finished record in LA.

    Together they crafted the band's demos into 11 tracks that, like the debut, celebrate eclecticism and songcraft. "We weren't setting out to write something completely different, but I would say we experimented more, tried to push the boundaries, tried to capture something that pushed us outside of our comfort zone," says Dom. "If a song made us feel a bit odd, that's good." In fact, it's that spirit that motivates them. "The mantra of the band is to not regurgitate any ideas," says Conor.

    Less of a consideration is whether their songs are arena-ready anthems, despite road testing their last collection while on tour with Muse. That, they say, will come naturally. "It shouldn't be a conscious thing to write those kinds of songs. Sorry and Particles could be deemed big arena songs, but they could equally have been tiny and indie -- we didn't set out to write them as massive tunes."

    Actually, say the band, they hope simply to keep growing as they have in those incredible two years since their debut. Their main goal is more noble. "We're a guitar band with a really modern take on music," says Conor. "We're trying to be on the forefront. We play guitars, but we're not a rock band in the traditional way, because we're trying to modernise and push the boundaries of what you're supposed to sound like as a band."

  • grandson


    Alternative Rap

    Grandson is a 23-year-old alternative artist hailing from Canada. Born in the small town of Englewood, New Jersey, he relocated to the cultural melting pot of Toronto at a young age, and grew up surrounded by music ranging from jazz to rock & roll to rap, dancehall and R&B.

    At 17, he moved to Montreal to attend university, and began working in nightclubs cleaning tables and DJing. He started writing music at this time, incorporating the unique blend of sounds he grew up surrounded by. He started experimenting with music production and rapping in 2013, dropped out of school and headed to Los Angeles to pursue music full time.

    Adopting the "grandson" moniker while living in LA, he dove deeply into rock influences such as Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin, while keeping an ear on the rap/R&B music emerging out of Toronto and alternative acts such as Twenty One Pilots and Hiatus Kaiyote. He found a small community of musicians to work and perform with in LA and eventually formed his band. Reminiscent of early punk and grunge music, grandson's live set attempts to create a frantic, mosh pit-inducing cathartic release of energy for fans.

    Searching for his voice and for meaning in today's divisive, chaotic world, grandson's songwriting confronts the most pressing issues of his generation, such as financial inequality, governmental and environmental accountability and social justice, giving these topics a soundtrack with a genuine sense of urgency and frustration, while simultaneously touching on adolescence, relationships, and the insecurities and difficulties of growing up through your 20s. When asked about today's music scene, he says "I genuinely believe the world needs honest rock and roll, now more than ever."

  • Demob Happy

    Demob Happy

    Alternative Rock

    A deep introspective trip for the ages, Newcastle-formed, Brighton-based trio Demob Happy’s second album ‘Holy Doom’ peers into the depths of the human soul. Within each person, there exists good and evil, a yin-yang axis we each try to navigate. There’s a sinner inside every saint. With a gemini spirit, this remarkable full-length pinballs between pure holiness and the lure of the devil, often within the space of one whirlwind song.


    In 2017 and looking ahead to 2018, it might seem like darkness is getting the upper hand, but ‘Holy Doom’ is less a reflection of the times and more a crucial, very current look at how we collectively internalise what’s going on in the world. It asks pertinent questions: what lurks inside us? What brings out the darkness we harbour? And how do we combat it?


    Before explaining what makes ‘Holy Doom’ such an essential record for the year ahead, it’s important to examine Demob Happy’s place in the world. Six years in the making, 2015 debut ‘Dream Soda’ cemented them as a resolute DIY force who’d played the long game, unwilling to follow any trend, unphased by guitar music’s apparent stale patch. Hailing from their hub on the coast’s Nowhere Man Café, they emerged with a sweat and dirt-stained statement of intent, a rock debut that shunned convention and left every available route open for the road ahead. Their next move was anyone’s guess.


    Turn to 2016, however, and collectively the band were under strain. They found themselves a member down – following the departure of Matthew Renforth – as well as being “let down” by a lot of people. “All of us emotionally suffered, all in the space of a few months. It was only in January this year when we started to come out the rut,” states frontman / bassist Matthew Marcantonio.


    It’s this relative struggle, and the united spirit they combated it with, which defines this second album. ‘Holy Doom’’s title is split into two halves (‘Holy’ representing our potential for kindness, ‘Doom’ our capability for wickedness), and the album itself follows suit. Whereas ‘Dream Soda’ had the childish, fidgety spirit of popping candy exploding on the tongue, its follow-up looks inwards.


    In part, this introspection stemmed from personal problems affecting frontman / bassist Matthew Marcantonio, shortly after the release of the debut. He suffered from depression, anxiety, and a nasty break-up. He wasn’t alone in finding 2016 a trial. Drummer Thomas Armstrong and guitarist Adam Godfrey had struggles of their own. These feelings are often burrowed up and left to fester, but Demob Happy decided to put everything out in the open.


    On ‘Dream Soda’, Marcantonio’s lyrics were laced with wild ideas and conspiracy theories, always looking outwards and at the big picture. In his own words, he put to paper “everything I’d learned since I was 18 years old… Since you smoke your first joint and then you start to see the world differently.” He’d shied away from a more personal songwriting style, because of fears he’d resort to clichés or cheesy, woe-is-me emotives. “Thinking about myself was never something I wanted to do. Until it became absolutely clear that I needed an outlet for this stuff. I’d never needed an outlet before. I was fine. My mind and my life was fine. But if you bury [those feelings], things get worse.” As the world around Marcantonio changed, as did his output.


    Anyone in love with ‘Dream Soda’’s deranged spirit won’t feel at a loss, however. In tightly-wound second LP highlight ‘Loosen It’, the guitar lines are still dagger-toothed and gristly. ‘Maker of Mine’ bounces off the walls like the debut’s finest moments. But revelations appear through the cracks, like the title-track’s sinister, synth-swept, sleepy-eyed embrace, or ‘Running Around’’s mammoth ebb-and-flow between abstract build and violent noise.


    Settling into the same Carmarthenshire, Wales cottage that birthed their debut, the trio wrote ‘Holy Doom’ in isolation – the kind that lends itself to madness. “It’s so isolating out there. None of us can drive. Unless the woman who owns the farm happens to drive past and asks if we need anything from the shop, we’re alone.” They arrived in Wales with a foolproof, exact plan. They had a precise sound in their heads before they collectively put it to tape. Things got weird. Marcantonio and his bandmates drew venn diagrams of “six intersecting circles” and pinned them to the walls. “We had key charts. Symbols for certain feelings evoked in songs.” If one song fell somewhat outside the boundaries for their ultimate objective, it was scrapped. “We got technical and mathematical. Not because it’s calculated, but that’s how our brains function.”


    From there, they recorded the bulk of the album in summer 2017 with Ian Davenport (Band of Skulls, Gaz Coombes) in Oxfordshire – save for the drums, where they reunited with ‘Dream Soda’ deskman Christoph Skirl to capture the perfect, crisp sound they required. It was then mixed by Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, Muse) and mastered by Geoff Pesche (Pulp, New Order) at London’s Abbey Road Studios.


    It baffles some diehard Demob fans, and this writer, as to why they’re not already one of the country’s biggest bands. But they’re a group who thrive in the in-betweens. They’re loud, but not in the jarring, bombastic way that tends to guarantee main stage festival slots. There’s serious restraint at play, what Marcantonio describes as “low-key, small and 70’s.” They’re far more emotionally bare on ‘Holy Doom’, but they don’t resort to wailed choruses and lighters-in-the-air sap.


    Throughout their early career, they’ve cited Queens of the Stone Age and The Beatles as big inspirations. And although you can make several direct sonic comparisons to ‘Holy Doom’ and those legendary bands, that’s not 100% the point. “We appreciate what they don’t do,” insists Marcantonio. “What I mean is, you can turn up a Queens record really loud, and it sounds amazing. They haven’t tried to jam loads of guitars, drums and cymbals. It would sound impressive for three seconds, and then your ears would start to bleed.” He continues: “Some bands start out by chasing a hip sound. We’ve wanted to steer clear from that attitude. Perhaps to our detriment. We’ve not been decipherable, or able to be pigeonholed.”


    Frankly, it can take time to fall for their subtle, stylish charm. Marcantonio is even attuned with thinking it might take several albums to win people round. “We knew that if we did anything approaching what other bands do, there’s no point. It comes from a place of passion, not wanting to play by the rules. We think if we do our thing, we’ll rise to the top. We don’t see this album as a make or break thing. It’s a stepping stone.” For what it’s worth, ‘Holy Doom’’s themes, sonic touchstones are the complete antithesis to rock’s default mode in the late 00’s. “And that’s exactly what we wanted to be,” Marcantonio smiles.



SOLD OUT! Nothing But Thieves w/ grandson & Demob Happy

Tue Oct 2 2018 8:00 PM

(Doors 7:00 PM)

The Basement East Nashville TN
SOLD OUT! Nothing But Thieves w/ grandson & Demob Happy
  • Sold out

$18 ADV / $20 DOS Ages 18+