The crowd who showed at the Arts Club for this gig by Irish retro-rockers The Strypes were clearly still in election mode, coming the day after the UK General Election which saw a clean sweep of seats in Liverpool taken by the Labour Party. Chants of ‘Oh, Je-re-my Cor-byn!’ rang out frequently, and were given plenty of encouragement by support act, Man & The Echo. Frontman Gaz Roberts made his own feelings abundantly clear, both between songs and during them, with his anti-Tory tirades going over well with this crowd. Their music was reasonably typical indie-rock fare, with emphasis on organ more than guitar, but their singer did stand out with his crooner-type vocal.
The Strypes were touring in support of a still-unreleased at the time third album (it came out around a week after this date), ‘Spitting Image’. Still barely in their twenties, this band are already veterans of the live scene, having performed in their native Republic of Ireland since their early teens. Their energetic live set included several new tracks from ‘Spitting Image’, but there were enough favourites there to please their followers. Live, they play HARD and have an intensity that many Metal bands would envy. The crowd on the floor responded in kind, with frequent moshpits throughout their set (yours truly anticipated this, and stood further back on the terrace-like area which still afforded a clear view of the stage!) There were still plenty of pro-Corbyn shouts during their set, and guitarist Josh McClorey acknowledged that while reminding the crowd that it wasn’t their election to get involved in! He played some killer leads and even threw in a snippet of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cowboy Song’ at one point.
The main MC duties came not from frontman Ross Farrelly (looking cool in shades, a natty suit and a snazzy yellow and black striped (Stryped?) Telecaster guitar, but bassist Pete O’Hanlon. It was the bassist who handled most of the crowd interaction, getting them to jump, clap, or even just encourage them to go wild. They needed little encouragement! At the back, drummer Evan Walsh looked sharp, with a fifties-style haircut and loud jacket, he was immense behind the kit but must have been hot in that get up!
This band have had some critical pastings but have won themselves not just fans their own age, but many older ones who remember the likes of Dr Feelgood. The Feelgoods plus many others of their era are obvious inspirations to these young lads. They’re the real deal, a no-nonsense hard-driving four-piece who are already on their way to becoming huge thanks to their live performance. I don’t think I’ve seen such an intense live act since early Airbourne, that’s how hard their delivery is. Seeing this group while they’re still playing small venues such as the Arts Club is thus highly recommended.
As a postscript, I got through this gig by staying clear of the pit but afterwards, having enjoyed a marvellous show, I managed to fracture my ankle walking back through the city to where I’d parked. Somehow I made it back to the car and was able to drive home again, but this has put me out of gig-going action for several weeks. Consequently, I have had to sit out several gigs I’d otherwise have seen and so this leg cannot heal quickly enough, I’m missing my fix! 😀