The Strypes at Koko
“This is absolutely class” lead guitarist Josh McClorey shouts to a lively crowd who have packed into Koko to watch The Strypes blaze through material from their latest album, Little Victories. The crowd in question are a binary bunch with veteran rhythm and blues fans lining the balconies, nodding heads to new and old material alike, whilst a far younger crowd throw each other around the floor to new tracks that clearly draw influence from noughties indie staples including the Arctic Monkeys and The Fratellis.
Throughout an upbeat set (no measured studio tempo to be found here), the Irish quartet work hard to appeal to an increasingly diverse fanbase. Opening with a clutch of tracks from their new album, including blisteringly fast renditions of singles Best Man and Get Into It, a change in style and sound is evident from a group who have previously been influenced by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Dr Feelgood.
Instead of mood-laden blues guitar, the crowd bounce to poppy riffs and punchy drums that are reminiscent of indie rock over the past decade. Perhaps sensing that those who have followed ostensible frontman Ross Farrelly and his gang from the start are getting restless for a return to the band’s roots, the band switch gears after the halfway point, ploughing through signature tracks Blue Collar Jane and Still Gonna Drive You Home with near manic energy that drives the floor to new levels of vigour.
The musicians have not only developed their sound since an impactful 2013 debut, but their stage presence too. McClorey sports a style and demeanour that wouldn’t look out of place at a Californian skate punk gig, whilst bassist Peter O’Hanlon, drummer Evan Walsh and Farrelly himself strut around the stage with newfound confidence, evoking an atmosphere of Camden rock gigs in the 60s and 70s.
Regardless of personal preference over how their music has changed, it’s undeniable that the group infuse a crowd with energy through the relentless drive of their live performances. The Strypes miss barely a beat during their 90-minute set and, to crib a lyric from single Hometown Girls, are rapidly leaving the “sweat and teenage innocence” of earlier performances behind.
Photos: Sophie Bluestone
For further information about The Strypes and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Get Into It here: