Jan. 26, 2014

The Strypes Invade America

By Marc Platt
January 29, 2014

I have been waiting for The Strypes from Cavan, Ireland to make it to America since December, 2012. 

It finally happened. It was well worth the wait.

The teenage blues rock quartet is Ross Farrelly (lead vocals/harmonica), Josh McClorey (lead guitar/vocals), Pete O'Hanlon (bass guitar/harmonica) and Evan Walsh (drums). They are managed by Elton John's management company.

On Tuesday January 28, Sir Elton John was sitting up in the balcony at the Troubadour. He was watching his lads give everything they had on the very stage as lead guitarist Josh McClorey yelled out "The Troubadour...The very stage Elton John got his start in America."

This band began their set in a rock n roll frenzy and NEVER let up for an hour and a half. They played the first hour of originals from their current EP release "Blue Collar Jane" and their upcoming Snapshot full-length CD.

The highlights of the originals were the slower bluesy "Angel Eyes," the fast-driving "I'll Still Drive You Home," the current singles "What a Shame" and Blue Collar Jane." These young musicians (ranging 16-to-18-years old) has obviously been well-schooled in the blues rock tradition of a great vinyl record collection at home. Their parents have supported them being a band since they were small kids when they formed in 2008.

It's hard not to put them in the "Retro" box, but I have to say, they do it with bravado, authenticity and passion. There were teenage girls throughout the club going out of their minds. There is a swelling hype surrounding the band having fans like Jeff Beck, Dave Grohl and The Jam's Paul Weller. Their PR people know how to use that fact in the build up, but you know what? They deliver in a big way. These guys took no breaks and ripped through at a pace Bruce Springsteen would have marvelled at. It was impressive start to finish.

One good way of judging a band's authenticity is being to identify which songs are original and which ones were covers. I happen to have the same kind of record collection as the Strypes and I knew Slim Harpo's "Got Love If You Want It" and Willie Dixon's "You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover," but my girlfriend, as well as the people in the club kept asking is that theirs or a cover? This is always a good sign for this kind of act.

Their writing is good now and it will get better. Their choice in Nick Lowe's "Heart of the City" from Rockpile was a fantastic choice for this band late in the show.

The rhythm section of bassis Pete O'Hanlon (who also wields a mean mouth harp) and drummer Evan Walsh are impeccable. Lead singer Ross Farrelly is also a fine guitar player, but only played on one song. The band in the past year made a decision to free him up to just sing and play harmonica, which he also excels at.

The Strypes are exciting visually, engaging performers and authentic as hell. I think they will go far if they keep growing. 

Strype-mania is beginning in America. Check them out.