First things first, The Birdcage in Bristol is one venue that all of the British vintage connoisseurs should check out. Mod outfits, vintages clothes, named-drinks (my cider, for instance, was Frank the Fisherman): as my boyfriend called it: “sounds like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”. To give justice to such a place, what would be better than some 50s rock and roll, delivered straight from Ireland?
I talked about The Strypes before, and I really liked the vibe and the explosive punch of You can’t Judge a Book by the Cover. The idea of seeing them live for free seemed quite a good one, especially for a Saturday evening (after a mental week at work, hence my weird-update schedule, apologies). Joking about the mixed age of the crowd, my friend pointed at some really young fellas dressed in tuxedos, just to suggest that you could really find everything at the Birdcage. Guess our astonishment when these four really young fellas jumped on stage. To be honest, we were not the only ones rather skeptical and surprised, despite them being labeled NME’s “No.1 Band To Watch In 2013”.
Lead singer Ross Farrelly (re-named “young Miles Kane”) has a mature voice for his age, without sounding excessively fake, lead guitar and backing vocalist Josh McClorey (“young Pete Doherty”) was the chatty one. Bass guitarist Pete O’Hanlon has a real touch with harmonica despite his young age, whilst Evan Walsh kept bashing the drums in pure rockabilly style. The lyrics draw from the typical themes of the time (Route 66, wild and passionate love etc.), in a cheeky attitude which reflects perfectly the core of the spicy Mississippi blues (I Got Love if You Want it). From the Doobie Brothers to the second-Dylan era, passing through Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Elvis, The Strypes jump from the harmonica Delta blues-y ballads to dance-floor boogie riffs.
Clapping hands and shaking your hips in rhythm is inevitable. It may be the age, it may be the music (blues and rock & roll are powerful stuff, need to handle them with care), but The Strypes prove that age really doesn’t matter anymore. The revenge of the young fellas: Jake Bugg, you have been warned.