Introduced (rather excitedly) by Republic of Tele presenter (and fellow Cavan man), Kevin McGahern, The Strypes take stage to perform their brand of ‘speed blues’ to a frenzied crowd in Dublin’s Academy.
The four-piece rock & blues outfit set about things in what’s now becoming typical Strypes fashion; turn it up, make it loud, make it fast. If high-tempo could be swapped with Einstein’s E, they’d likely explode. With teenage spirit by the bag full, how refreshing it was to see a young crowd return every lyric of opener, Hometown Girls, from the band’s debut full-length release ‘Snapshot’.
Naturally, when big status musicians (Gallagher, Weller, Beck, Grohl) lay praise to a young and ambitious band, their live show will be scrutinised ever more. The Strypes prove worthy however, and a striking feature of the show is the speeds in which drummer Evan Walsh, and bassist Peter O Hanlon achieve together without losing ‘the feel’ of any song. A remarkably tricky thing to do. This rhythm section pairing are unique in that they work together, as if held by a metaphorical music pully chain. All the while, guitarist Josh McClorey is preoccupied with solos that would strip the paint off a passing car.
They follow things up with great intensity; What A Shame, I Can Tell and I Don’t Wanna Know are the standouts, with the latter seeing front man Ross Farrelly displaying a remarkable harmonica solo throughout. What’s apparent about the Strypes’ overall sound (after new material features twice running), is these four musicians have yet again encountered the ‘player’ inside; it’s that teenage garage-band smugness in which they so rightly claim; a smugness rarely found in many bands. Simply put, they enjoy rocking out, and so do those in adoration for them.
The Strypes appear to understand that a live show is, for the most part, about entertaining an audience. When bassist O Hanlon leaves momentarily, only to reappear dressed as Father Christmas – throwing selection boxes from his big sack and playing an harmonica solo on bent knees, well, you can’t help but feel entertained.
They encore with a number of distinctly different covers; their versions of Kaiser Chiefs’ I Predict A Riot, and Bo Diddly’s You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover are listed shelves apart, but nonetheless The Strypes deliver them with cohesion.
After striking the final chord, Peter and Josh leap into the crowd, guitars flailing. As Letterman put it, “The Strypes – that’s all you need to know.”