The Strypes – King Tut’s – 05/05/13

What were you doing at age sixteen? Drinking cheap cider and stressing about exams if you’re anything like me. The Strypes on the other hand are in the middle of a sold out UK tour on the back of a successful appearance on Later with Jools Holland. One sozzled punter drove to Leeds to see them last night. The hype is undeniable and you can see why: four young lads from Cavan, Ireland, who channel the frenzied energy of The Kinks, The Yardbirds and the best of fifties rock n’ roll and play with a tightness that would leave most hipster indie bands in the dust.

For a band too young to go for a drink in the bar that they’ve just sold out, it’s a mixed audience – for all their undeniable chops, they’re at risk of falling prey to the “proper lads, proper haircuts” bullshit that blighted the likes of Kasabian and The Enemy – but at the same time it’s an enthusiastic crowd and the quartet of Josh McClorey, Pete O’Hanlon, Evan Walsh and Pete Farrelly are happy to pull some shapes.

Aside from hearing a song called ‘Hot for You Baby’ sung by someone who doesn’t look old enough to shave, the foursome do a great job of bringing to life an energetic set of old-school rhythm and blues. Single ‘Blue Collar Jane’ is dispatched ferociously as McClorey strikes a pose with his foot on the monitor. The lyrics aren’t particularly deep but fuck it, no one ever listened to ‘Love Me Do’ for cosmic truth.

‘Stormy Monday Blues’ slows the pace, whilst ‘Perfect Storm’ channels pub-rockers Dr Feelgood but the highpoint is ‘Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover’ which manages the first singalong of the night. There’s been speculation online as to how four Irish teenagers ended up with an in depth knowledge of Muddy Waters with some likening them to a rock n’ roll One Direction but it’s hard to see them and not be impressed by the work rate and the passion with which they approach their live show.

[Max Sefton]

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