Two gigs in two nights, as Rachel and I donned shorts and bopped down to Oxford for this sell-out gig from current music press faves The Thrills. Hit the venue at 7.30 and got stopped by the bouncer, who thought I was smuggling something into the venue under my shirt. He got a shock when he found out it was my hernia - he then called his fellow steward over, who also happened to be called David Rose (Andrew David Rose, that is), and who also had a hernia, although nowhere near as big as mine. Weird!
Right, medical report over, on with the gig review! Rach and I plonked down in the bar and chatted through an inconsequential, although better than before (although that wasn't difficult really), set from support The Delays. Scheduled support The Zutons were mysteriously missing; shame, as that would have been a useful "Z" in the gig alphabet!
Took up position in the uncomfortably large crowd, behind 2 guys whose heads I threatened to bang together if they elbowed me in the stomach! The Thrills joined us at 9.30 to a rapturous reception, and set to their task with humility and a fair amount of reverence for their music. The fey, Morrissey-esque stage presence of vocalist Conor Deasey was a feature throughout, and indeed this gig recalled early Smiths shows in their youthful optimism and anticipation of greater things to come. Musically, they were again a splendid melange of all your favourite 60's west Coast jangly pop and harmonic surf groups, with a toughened up "One Horse Town", featuring excellent 3-part harmonies, a highlight. Conor commented on what an honour it was to sell out Oxford on their first visit, but they'd better get used to that, as on the evidence of this show they're destined for greater things. Potential slowly being realised, although they still need room to grow and develop - and write more songs, as this set plus encore was barely 45 minutes. Another home by 11 job!