The Strypes at Brighton’s Concorde 2
12th February 2014
Cavan, Ireland’s garage rock foursome The Strypes perform the Bo Diddley popularized number ‘You Cant Judge A Book By The Cover’ but throughout the set you are more likely to find yourself pondering whether you can judge a band by its fans. At Brighton’s Concorde 2 the audience present was divided between the middle aged and the adolescent, those looking for a throwback to their own youth and those raised off their parents record collections respectively. So it should come as no surprise that the band is something of a throw back, from the Keith Relf aping front man all the way down to the traditionalist sound of the group themselves.
Scattered throughout the set are a number blues standards, the aforementioned Bo Diddley track, alongside The Coasters “I’m A Hog For You Baby” amongst others, but it is here that we encounter the weakest part of the set. That is not to say that the musicianship isn’t excellent, the guitarist is clearly talented and in Ross Farrely they have found a charismatic and confident frontman. The problem lies with the fact that these particular songs have been done to death over the years, and as such they have grown to be very safe. At its core rock & roll is supposed to be dangerous and forward facing but the chosen covers here effectively neuter the set. In fact the night as a whole is rather curiously desexed.
Matters improve when the band perform their own compositions, a fervent reaction greets both ‘What A Shame’ and the Stooges inspired ‘Blue Collar Jane’ arguably the best examples of the Strypes at their most contemporary. The latter really is a highlight of the night and you cant help but hope that their future work steps away from traditional electric blues in favour of that more aggressive sound.
All in all The Strypes provide a greatly entertaining night however they come with a huge dose of nostalgia. More problematic is that it is difficult to escape the sense they sound like a great bar band rather than a group likely to appeal beyond their current niche. The only hope is that they are capable of stepping out of the shadow cast by Dr Feelgood and the Yardbirds to become truly relevant to a modern audience.
Read our interview with The Strypes here.
By Connor Lundy.