Twelve months on from what might be seen as their coming out party as Electric Picnic '12, The Strypes returned this year a much more refined and assured outfit. Having been on the receiving end of all manner of hype and expectation, perhaps the result of praise from the likes of Elton John, Dave Grohl, Roger Daltrey and Paul Weller, the four Cavan teenagers are growing into their roles as burgeoning rock n' roll demigods with ease.
It took a little over an hour for them to whip through their set at an absolute breakneck pace, ticking numerous rhythm and blues boxes along the way. It's all there; the obscenely talented musicianship, the assured swagger verging on cockiness and now, it seems, they're really beginning to cultivate a fanbase. Having played an inauspicious gig to a handful of people on last year's Body & Soul stage to this year playing to a completely packed tent on Electric Picnic's second biggest stage, your mind begins to wander when considering just where they might be this time next year. Their debut album 'Snapshot' is released next Friday, so let's take it from there and see where it all ends up. For the moment, though, it's very much so far so good.
Johnny Marr, next up in the Electric Arena, is perhaps known by more people as 'the guitarist from The Smiths' than for his recently released solo album and, with that in mind, you can understand his decision to throw that section of the crowd an early bone by running through renditions of Smiths' oldies like 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' and 'Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before' and yes, Johnny, we have...and we preferred when the other guy sang it. Despite being a member of one of the most important bands of the past 30 years, Marr's solo material is almost indiscernible from some of the other less-than-great bands we've heard this weekend. We expected more.