On March 22nd at a packed but not sold out Mod Club, myself, along with a diverse crowd of teens, children, families and adults got to experience why so many musicians including Elton John, Paul Weller, Jeff Beck and more, are singing the praises of The Strypes. So here’s my song to them:
I’m still waiting for news to break that this very young four piece rock n’ roll band from small town Cavan, Ireland are really robots, constructed by their record label to serve some evil agenda. How else do you explain a band ranging in ages 16-18, that wail out 60’s inspired R&B, soul and old school rock n’ roll better than some musicians that have been playing for decades?
On their first major tour as a band, first full length album Snapshot just released, The Strypes were scouted, and fought over by major labels after releasing an EP of blues covers FOR FUN. As a live band, it’s easy to tell this is their first major tour. Still finding their footing and comfort levels, they exude a self-assured and cockiness that their idols possessed, but there’s still a level of insecurity and awkwardness that is endearing (it also seemed that the mom of one of the band members was face timing on an iPad off to the side of the stage that their roadie was holding, which was adorable). 16 year old singer Ross Farrelly, with a vocal range and strength beyond his year’s, wore his signature wayfarer’s, which according to interviews comes from on-stage nerves (he doesn’t speak in interviews, but very excitedly pounded his fist on his leg in triumph, when an interviewer told him Paul Weller was a huge fan).
They ripped through their small catalogue of original songs, with the perfection of McClorey’s wailing guitar solos, and Evan Walsh’s arena worthy drumming, accompanied by bassist Pete O’Hanlan; including the single that could easily be mistaken for an early Stones jam Blue Collar Jane; She’s So Fine, ripe with Beatles influence among others and the old-school punk and blues fused Perfect Storm. They finished off with one encore, running back on stage after a rare-to-see in Toronto display of enthusiasm from the crowd, stomping their feet chanting “Strypes, Strypes, Strypes”. Playing their well known cover of Bo Diddley’s You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, every teenager in the crowd screamed along to it like it was the beginnings of Beatlemania. As a girl raised on oldies, I feel utter gratitude towards The Strypes for re-introducing this music to a generation exposed to the horrific mainstream pop of Bieber, One Direction, and whatever the hell else they’re playing on the garbage radio these days.
Truly excited and slightly fearful to see how The Strypes will evolve as a band, I hope the sudden success and attention they get at such a young age does not make them into the rock n’ roll versions of Bieber. These guys are far too talented. Elton John went on record, stating of The Strypes “They have a knowledge of R&B and blues at 16 years of age that I have only amassed in my 65 years. They’re just like a breath of fresh air.” I could continue my song of praise for another 500 words, but I think you should just check them out for yourselves.
Lauren Morocco | @LaurenMorocco