This Strypes article was written by Jen Taylor, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells
Koko is the type of venue that you really need to see to believe how wonderful and regal it is. With a three tiered theatre set-up packed to capacity with a sold-out crowd, it was a perfect venue for Irish band The Strypes.
They were joined by fellow countrymen The Mighty Stefs, who kicked off the night with a nice spiel letting everyone know they were as grateful to be there as everyone else in attendance. Their music sounded different live from their recorded work, but with a new album on the way in the next couple of weeks, perhaps this is a sign of how the band has grown. Their higher energy songs definitely went down better than their mid-set ballad, but they finished on a high with a single from their upcoming album.
Once the first act had finished, the audience went to get drinks or tried their luck at pushing to the front of the stage to get prime position for the headline; it was obvious that the crowd had grown as people even packed the steps for a better view.
The Strypes appeared onstage and immediately launched into their high energy song (and one of their best), ‘Eighty four’. They succeeded in working up the audience from the get-go by playing such a hit so early on. The Lead Singer, Ross Farrelly and Guitarist, Josh McClorey took it in turns to sing, and the Bassist, Peter O’Hanlon channelled the energy of the band as well as the essence of rock’n’roll in his stage presence.
They didn’t peak too soon, despite starting with such a winning song; they proved the strength of their catalogue by pulling out hit after hit: ‘Queen of the Half Crown’, ‘Scumbag City’, ‘Blue Collar Jane’. They also did a fantastic high energy cover of Joe Jackson’s‘I’m the Man’, which fit in perfectly with the rest of their song list.
The lead singer seemed a little inconsistent with his performance. In terms of his singing, he was perfect the whole time. But in terms of his stage presence, he had moments of having fun (most noticeably when he was playing Harmonica), moving around the stage, engaging with his band mates, not taking himself too seriously. At other times he seemed stiff, worried, concentrating; perhaps the ability to make being onstage in front of a sold-out crowd look easy comes with age. The Bass player, however, maintained the energy all along.
The audience were not disappointed for a moment, and the whole crowd were moving and pulsating to the music at every point. The Strypes built up to finish with their moody song ‘I Need to be Your Only’, with an audience sing-along, and everyone wondered where they could go from there.
However encores are almost always guaranteed these days, and The Strypes came back onstage to finish with three covers, ending on ‘You can’t judge a book by the cover’, which was practically sung by the audience, with help of the band onstage.
The Strypes are always going to be a fun band to see live, and their 60’s-blues-rock style really is timeless and will continue to have people happily dancing along.