The Strypes - The Academy - 19th September
Introduced by stalwart advocate BP Fallon, the Strypes take to the stage like seasoned veterans. The boys from Cavan set out their stall from the get-go: if it's a moddish rhythm and blues throwback you're after, there's no better place to rewind the clock than at the Academy this mild Thursday evening. Jumping headlong in to 'Mystery Man' (opening track of just-released debut album Snapshot), the Strypes don't allow the eager audience time to catch their breath, instead delivering an enthusiastic rendition of 'She's So Fine' and scarcely relenting on the momentum over the ensuing 70 minutes.
The burgeoning reputation of this fresh-faced quartet, bolstered by high-profile fans and significant media attention, is reinforced tonight by the presence of a cadre of press photographers. The demographically diverse crowd are in on this sense of occasion. A sizeable chunk of the full house are clearly familiar with Snapshot, with other blues-rock loyalists here to see if Ross, Josh, Pete and Evan are the real deal. As punchy blues-channelling number yields to quickfire garage-rock nugget, these four teenagers draw liberally from last century's blues history and in doing so, belie the jarring reality that as this century got underway, they were preparing for first days at school.
'I'm a Hog For You Baby' is an early highlight, the boogie double-whammy of 'Umpa Lumpa Do Pa De Do' and 'Down the Road a Piece' stirs the crowd, while Evan Walsh's drums on singles 'What a Shame' and 'Hometown Girls' galvanise the band's more established material. Amid an onslaught of guitar and harmonica solos, a singalong moment offered by Bo Diddley's 'You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover' caps a mid-set flurry of Snapshot's choice cuts.
Adopting a convincing swagger on stage, and complemented by stage lights alternately backlighting the band and shrouding them in deep red and blue hues, a composed Strypes endearingly display rock 'n' roll tropes. Sporting the attire and throwing shapes akin to Swedish garage-rockers the Hives, with frontman Ross Farrelly commendably neglecting to remove neither shades nor jacket throughout, the Strypes are rarely out of their dynamic stride. Each time one suspects the act is wearing thin, the band pulls the crowd back in with another blistering intro. Due to a few homogeneous tunes the show wanes in the latter half, and with much of their repertoire infectious yet interchangeable, a keen appreciation for the Strypes' shtick is required. However, when the band performs this thrillingly, this maturely, and this earnestly, any notion of four posturing tykes as imitators, an S Club Juniors of rhythm and blues, is dispelled.
Their act may yet grow stale, but for now, there are few Irish bands who can deliver live quite as successfully as the Strypes - passionate, exciting and a whole lot of fun. Much is made of the tender age of the foursome, but tonight, an exhilarating combination of polished stage presence and precocious talent confirms that recent attention is justified and ensures we are in capable hands.
Story by entertainment.ie | 10:07 | Monday 23rd September 2013 | Live Reviews