Image courtesy of rbtheplace.co.uk
Ireland’s The Strypes are somewhat of an anomaly. In today’s popular music culture, it seems as if kids are growing up idolising manufactured pop stars or whoever they might see on the newest hit programs on TV. I can imagine that these four guys from Cavan would have had a slightly different upbringing. Taking (strong) influence from 60’s and 70’s blues and rock and roll acts, they are beyond their years in both talent, skill, and energy, before any member of the band is even legally allowed to buy a drink.
Arriving on a gloomy Tuesday evening to the lovable Northcote venue, openers for the evenings’ proceeding are Brisbane’s The Creases. They provided a smooth introduction to the evening, most definitely providing enough aesthetic in the way of haircuts and vintage guitars to match their retro-indie pop tunes. Despite being at least five years older than their proceeding act, these guys have been receiving decent coverage on triple j and managed to score the national support on all of The Strypes Australian dates. They also join them at Splendour In The Grass this following weekend. When asked by their bass player if anyone was to be joining them this weekend in Byron, not a hand in the room was to be seen. It seems like Melbourne is indeed too far and indeed too expensive to pursue such an adventure. Sigh, one day.
After what seemed like and eternity staring at the black curtain that was to reveal tonight’s headline act, The Strypes strutted onto stage, and proceeded to blast through (almost) their entire catalogue of tunes without it seems, even taking a breath. With only one album and a four track EP (ironically titled 4 Track Mind), obviously they don’t have a huge amount of material to work with but gosh did they try to impress with tonight’s offerings. Each member of the band in their own right is most accomplished in their instruments and with the attitude to boot.
Guitarist Josh McClorey is obviously the most outgoing of the band, shredding and sliding his way through the set, wide mouth gum chewing and riling the audience to dance, move about, sing along, clap (“Are you having a good time Melbourne?”) and then later to introduce each member of the band. Singer Ross Farrelly is somewhat more humble, hidden behind his trademark black Wayfarers and a harmonica, but is too an impressive voice for the high energy rock and roll numbers such as I Can’t Tell, What A Shame and Mystery Man. Bass player Peter O’Hanlon is a force on the bass, crazy solos, a stint on the harmonica and matching crazy attitude. At the back, drummer Evan Walsh might be humble but doesn’t drop a beat for the whole set, cracking along at a ridiculous pace. At one point I saw him bust a stick and grab another to keep playing in what seemed the blink of an eye.
Before long they had returned to the stage for a short encore of a few covers including Ramones’ Rockaway Beach, which sadly seems to have been unfamiliar on many of the crowds’ ears, as well as the R&B classic Louie Louie, which got the crowd singing along with a little help from our headliners.
For a bunch of very talented (essentially) kids, they sure did draw a wide bunch of people to see them tonight at this sold out show. Everyone from the excited 18 year olds waiting front of stage before either of the bands had even started, to the more mature Mod followers in full get up. And without doubt they would sure to have exceeded everyone’s expectations. Sure, their sound isn’t original or modern, but they are sure good at what they do, despite how old they are.
Highlights of the evening – Hair. Guitar/bass/drums solos. Energy!
‘What A Shame’ on Letterman