Gig Review by Nic Jones

The Strypes
Photo Credit: Jill Furmanovsky

Alex Turner courted controversy at The Brit Awards this week with a left-field speech which has since been tiresomely and disappointingly over-analysed . “That rock ‘n’ roll, eh? That rock ‘n’ roll, it just won’t go away.”, proclaimed Turner, an apt call to action in a world where pop and dance music dominate and few young rock bands seem to be gaining prominence. Irish four-piece The Strypes are answering that call. Swiftly gaining momentum over the past year, the rhythm and blues band have been touring the UK for the past two weeks, and we went to check out their Manchester show.

With Manchester’s Academy 2 as the venue, The Strypes appear to be starting out modestly. Based on the massive exposure of their triumphant Glastonbury set and their supporting slot on the Arctic Monkeys’s tour last year, they could easily be selling out a venue twice the size. However, the Academy 2 setting rings true for a group who want to learn their craft; a trait so genuine and one which feels rare in a society where so many want the quick and easy route to fame and fortune. It takes confidence and humility in the face of so much praise and acclaim to be able to say ‘we know we’re young, we’re learning as we go, we don’t want to burn out too quickly’, which is what it feels like this tour says. And it’s very true; with this talent The Strypes have a lot of time to make their way right to the top.

One thing is clear, they’ve already amassed a solid fan base. As they set foot on stage and instantly launch into the opening drums and guitar riff of ‘What A Shame’ the densely packed front of the crowd instantly transforms into a giant mosh pit, with younger fans unable to contain their excitement and quite literally thrashing around, going wild. That mosh pit is a constant throughout the 90 minute set, leaving the back of the room filled with an older crowd which recognises the true magic of a young gifted band trying to do something a bit different to their counterparts.

They race through tracks from debut album ‘Snapshot’ and latest EP ‘4 Track Mind’ with ease and finesse, the crowd delighting particularly in ‘Hometown Girls’, ‘What the people don’t see’ and ‘Mystery Man’. The standout moment of the show though comes in the form of slowed down number ‘Angel Eyes’. It’s the song in the set which best showcases this band’s potential. It’s not just that it’s a solidly good track performed brilliantly live, it’s that whilst watching them perfom you can almost see that if they master this kind of song there’s no reason The Strypes can’t be absolutely huge. It sets off a strong feeling of anticipation.

These boys are far from lacking in stage presence. They have bucket loads of attitude; guitarists Josh McClorey and Pete O’Hanlon often looking out to the crowd, entranced and defiant which only serves to make the crowd rowdier. It’s a look that only a teenager could really pull off with such aplomb. It says “We know we’re good at this, and we feel invincible right now”. But no one on stage is cooler than front man Ross Farrelly. He is scarily composed for one so young, his on stage presence reminiscent of Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. There’s a magnetic quality to him already which will only grow as he matures. His shades remain firmly in place for the entire show betraying no emotion whatsoever. Perhaps when he feels ready to showcase the depth of what he is singing to the world will be the point at which he becomes a superstar in his own right and a front man to remember.

It’s all over a bit too soon, and the crowd is tumbling out in high spirits. Is what The Strypes doing revolutionary in music? No, not at all. What is important though is that they are doing it right now. They are carving a path for younger people to look wider than pop and mainstream music genres to find their influences and put their own spin on them. Now feels like a special moment in their career to see The Strypes live, that said their future looks almost frighteningly exciting.



Set List Included: What A Shame / So They Say / She’s So Fine / What The People Don’t See / I Don’t Wanna Know / I Can Tell / Angel Eyes / Perfect Storm / Hard To Say No / Mystery Man / Hometown Girls / Blue Collar Jane

Encore: Still Gonna Drive You Home / You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover

Learn more about The Strypes here: Official Website / Facebook / Twitter

One Response to “The Strypes at the Academy 2, Manchester, UK – 21st February 2014”

  1. Review for Gig Junkies – The Strypes | NavigatorNic Says:

    […] The Strypes at the Academy 2, Manchester, UK – 21st February 2014 […]

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