The Strypes At The Olympia Theatre – Review
In every venue, just before a headline act starts, there’s normally a track list playing that most people don’t notice. That track list is often handpicked songs that have musical significance to the artist and gives interesting insight into their influences. Waiting in the pit at The Olympia on Saturday night with Phil Lynott and David Bowie on the loop, it’s becoming clear that the boys are back in town. The boys from Cavan, The Strypes.
As ‘Space Oddity’ fades out, the iconic opening riff from ‘Rebel Rebel’ kicks in. Sweeping onstage all swagger and charm, The Strypes pay homage to Bowie. A stunning opening, a fitting tribute. The song says it all.
Lashing straight into their own material, they deliver a setlist that just keeps revving it up. Not once does the pace relent as twenty-two tracks from both albums and EPs are delivered flawlessly. With more energy than a crate of red bull, the band whip into fifth gear for the sea of moshing, jumping, frenzied fans. A refreshing mix of teenagers and hipsters ‘Get Into It’ at every level. ‘Hometown Girls’ with its nostalgia soaked lyrics that ‘reek of sweat and teenage innocence’ could very well be this generation’s ‘Teenage Kicks’. ‘Cool Brunette’ wraps up whiffs of Paul Weller, The Kinks and Oasis bass lines. The Rolling Stones’ ‘Bitch’ unfurls itself into the somewhat unknowing audience. Nonetheless they indulge with the band, empowering the track into new territory. ‘Eighty-Four’, reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ flavours. The heavier guitar element of ‘Now She’s Gone’ goes down well in the pit, the Hendrix hints resonating ’till the last big fat exaggerated riff. Zip over to soul and funk next with what I think was ‘Soul Finger’ from sixties funk masters The Bar-Kays. The boys obviously wanted to have some fun with the brass set tonight, pulling this little sweetie out of the hat.
‘Angel Eyes’ marked out an old favourite before another indulgence in ‘Sweet Soul Music’. Full whack on the brass, pump up the guitars and let loose on the beats. It’s a party pleaser. ‘Scumbag City Blues’ is a modern anthem of teenage angst and disillusionment. That youthful resignation and resentment is normally evident when Jake Bugg and Iain Archer collide.
As the band retreat backstage, their followers chant ‘C’mon The Strypes’. Demanding their encore, I’d say the bus to Cavan was great craic on the way home. The boys don’t disappoint with their final offerings. ‘I Need To Be Your Only’ and ‘Blue Collar Jane’ are performed before a glorious, harmonica happy version of Jackie Wilson’s ‘Higher And Higher’.
The Strypes proved their versatility and their multi genre appeal on every level tonight. Despite their almost instant early fame, they’re still hungry and humble.
It was a polished performance from every one of them, each playing to their own strengths. Tonight was not just a little victory. It was a glorious graduation to The Olympia Theatre for the new princes of rock ‘n’ roll.
Review by Ciara Sheahan