RACHEL BULLER UEA LCR, Norwich
> UEA LCR, Norwich
The Thrills are an odd bunch. During their sell-out show at the UEA on Saturday night, it was like being in a Dublin pub while at the same time lazing on the USA's West Coast.
In parts there was so much enthusiastic hand-clapping and singing along – usually at the request of charismatic frontman Conor – that you could be forgiven for thinking you were at an Irish music festival.
And yet at other times, especially when they played the magnificent Big Sur and Santa Cruz, you could have been driving down a freeway in 1960s' America.
Particular favourites were a rousing rendition of One Horse Town, which involved so much vigorous clapping it left your hands sore, and a rocking version of Whatever Happened to Corey Haim with some great sing-along, microphone over the audience, participation.
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The beautiful new single Not for all the love in the world was also a big crowd favourite, with Conor's vocal making it sound far more magical than it does on record.
But the biggest cheer of the night was saved for Santa Cruz. It seemed to last forever and just for a moment you could forget the grim weather outside and transport yourself into the Californian sunshine.
Some might say the Thrills sound a little too soft rock to deserve a meaningful place in the grand musical scheme of things. But live they are every bit as forward thinking as those who try hard to be so alternative – and besides, who can fail to be charmed by such lovely Irish boys.