Standing outside in the freezing cold, amongst a line that stretched the full length of the road leading to the Birmingham Institute Library, it was clear that the venue was about to witness a full capacity, tightly packed audience. Becoming most noticeable as the room filled out were the diverse ages of people there. Assembled like a school photograph; youngest being right at the front, panning backwards to see the average age slowly increase, everyone was there for one reason only, to catch a glimpse of Irish teenagers, The Strypes pull off yet another remarkable performance.
Taking the stage, immediately hitting you with a sheer wall of noise, they burst into ‘What a Shame’. It hardly took any time at all until the crowd were pogoing along to the disorientating riff screaming from McClorey’s guitar. Progressing swiftly with no break, they effortlessly followed with a brand new track from their current EP, ‘So they Say’. You would assume with it only being released last week, the audience would have taken something of a back seat, but instead it made them move even more than before.
From there it seemed to just get livelier and livelier. Ross Farrelly’s interaction with the whole room was golden, especially during his phenomenal rendition of ‘Ooh Poo Pah Doo’. Beginning with an arena style sing along, building anticipation with a cleverly placed pause to which Farrelly then confidently roared the lyrics to the blues classic, sending the audience into a frenzy. Throughout the next few numbers there was no lull in energy, from band and crowd alike. Something that may be difficult to notice by those not at the barrier, but a point that ensures the electric atmosphere at a Strypes gig, is the way Evan Walsh orchestrates the high octane fluidity of the set from his drum kit at the back. He is a truly gifted musician, as are the rest of the band; showcased best when you can clearly see that they are truly loving being on stage.
Nearing the end of the set, the lads switched instruments meaning Pete O’Hanlon took the centre spot for the stand out ‘Got Love If You Want It’. The song grows in pace and momentum, O’Hanlon stares out into the abyss, catching the eyes of swarm of screaming girls congregated at the closest they could possibly stretch to his feet. Sparked by the increasing drum beat, the tune culminates with Pete snapping out of his daze and erupting into a masterful harmonica solo. Absolutely astonishing.
Returning to complete a 4 track encore; ‘Still Gonna Drive You Home’ opens a truly mad 15 minutes of pure R&B. Ross Farrelly’s stage craft couldn’t have gotten any better, the audience grasped this and also grasped him, literally pulling him off stage and onto the first row of spectators. Scrambling to get back, it didn’t take long for the others to follow suit. ‘Rockaway Beach’ and ‘Louie Louie’ saw Josh McClorey take complete control of the audience and playing to an exceptional standard. It was much to the delight of the crowd when he and O’Hanlon both breeched all previous protocol and launched themselves over the barrier, into the mosh pit. The Strypes’ abandonment of any inhabitations, and just going with the flow of the gig was so refreshing to see – an honest display of rock and roll sprit.