The Strypes at Islington Academy
Avoiding the hype surrounding Irish youngsters The Strypes over the past six months would have taken quite impressive dedication to avoiding all print and online music media. The precociously talented (average age is just 16) boys from Cavan have been endorsed by everyone from Elton John to Alice Cooper, and have already shared a stage with Paul Weller. They’ve even suffered unfair comparisons to The Beatles, something the band have been keen to distance themselves from.
There is, however, a love of old blues shared with McCartney and co. Much of the material played this evening is similar to that performed by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds when they were learning their trade. Their stage image, plus tonight’s potent covers of Bo Diddley’s You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover and Slim Harpo’s Got Love if You Want It, recalls the early 60s when rhythm and blues held sway in the UK. Some have dismissed The Strypes as a tribute band exploiting a niche of fans seeking a retro blues explosion. Wholly unfair given their age and the fact that their two singles in 2013, Blue Collar Jane and Hometown Girls, were self-penned. There’s more original stuff to come in the album due in September, and what’s played tonight sits very easily with those Mississippi Delta covers.
The Strypes have honed their sound through regular gigging over the past five years, and the band they most resemble are 70s Canvey Island pub-rock legends Dr. Feelgood. Ross Farrelly on vocals has the throaty rasp of Lee Brilleaux, while Josh McClorey’s flamboyant guitar style will reassure the terminally ill Wilko Johnson that his mantle is being passed on to someone of worth. Their confidence and swagger are infectious, earning a strong response from an audience who are old enough to have seen all of this before, yet who philanthropically bestow the blues crown onto the intense young pretenders.
They finish with a clutch of storming covers, including Nick Lowe’s Heart of the City and Bobby Troup’s Route 66. It’s an all-too-brief 70-minute set, but we’re going to see a lot more of them. Their short-term future is glorious; how they progress and mature beyond that remains to be seen, but for now they’re the real deal.
Photos: Aurélien Guichard
For further information and future events visit The Strypes’ website here.
Watch the video for Hometown Girls here: