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DUBLIN SURF
:: The Thrills ::
08 October 2003 / Academy 1 / Manchester
By Craig Mather

Tonight The Thrills have been moved from The University’s Academy 2 (MDH) to the comparatively larger Academy 1, this in itself says something about the bands dramatic rise to fame, much thanks to a lot of good press, but also a very musical and accessible album. The Thrills purists who have turned out at the Night & Day / Ampersand etc are all here tonight, but the crowd seems to be diluted by a odd selection of people who evidently picked the album up in Tesco’s because it was in the chart.

This evening all seems a little rushed. An uncertain Conor smiles over the entirety of the audience letting his eyes gaze across the spectators, but he doesn’t stop to crack intimate joke or uncover a band’s funnier story from the tour as per usual. There’s a sense the crowd know what they’re getting this evening which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’d be nice to see few new songs now after having heard an albums worth of material each time four times the band have played Manchester. Luckily we do get treated to one new song, which is a quite upbeat and moderately catchy however it seems to throw the Tesco CD buying crowd for a loop as whispers are heard (“whats this? Is this a Thrills song?”). Instead the majority of the (I’m guessing now permanent) new crowd lap up Santa Cruz and celebrate such a song by chanting football songs in between chucking beer on people. All seems a little inappropriate, but it had to happen some time (right?). It’s a shame for the reason being a lot of the people in the crowd are completely different to the bemused band on stage. “Old Friends, New Lovers”, and “Till The Tide Creeps In” have couples smiling and feeling all warm inside, as only band like The Thrills can do. The band seems to focus a little bit more on slower songs tonight, which is appreciated by everyone (even the louts).

This current tour is a long one and considering The Thrills have toured, on and off in between festivals pretty much constantly since May its to no surprise that Conors voice sounds (more so than usual) horse and the band are not entirely focused. Whether it’s the fact that members are just justifiably worn out, or whether it is since the band just feels uncomfortable on such a large stage doing their biggest headlining tour to date, I’m not entirely sure. Either way let’s hope with rest and relaxation, before heading into the Studio around December time, the band find their creativity and come out with energy, romance, and affection for what they love to do, which has often been the case. A split crowd leaves tonight, half of whom are excited, the other half puzzled.


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