The Thrills are a scruffy group with a big future...
When The Thrills step on stage tonight, they look out of time. A mess of tangled hair and mismatched clothing, they number five, although it’s the front three that your eyes are immediately drawn to. Centre stage is singer Conor Deasy. He’s flanked by guitarist Daniel Ryan and bassist Padhraic McMahon who, with his creased shirt and blazer, looks like he lives across the hall from The Strokes.
The Thrills might be from Dublin, but it’s Neil Young that is their most obvious inspiration, along with the sound of West Coast America in the ’60s – particularly The Beach Boys and The Byrds. Their set tonight is plagued by poor sound and equipment malfunction, but despite all the problems there’s still a spirit and abandon that shines through. Whether it’s the banjo-powered sweep of ‘Big Sur’ or the introspective intimacy of ‘Old Friends And New Lovers’, there’s a real freshness and melodicism to what they do. Even when they’re forced to do one of their best songs – ‘Santa Cruz’ – without any guitar, they still make it sound incredibly affecting.
They finish with ‘One Horse Town’ – another one of their songs inspired by
the romance and open spaces of America – and as soon as they finish they practically run off the side of the stage. There’s nothing for them to be ashamed of, though. The Thrills are a scruffy group with a big future. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to hear that for yourself.