Considering the age of the band (the youngest member is 15), the crowd at The Lexington tonight is... well, let’s just say, mature. The Strypes have been lapping up a lot of buzz from the press, record labels and iconic musicians due to their odd taste in music for lads their age - and the fact that their advanced musical skills means that they were thrown an instrument their way as soon as they were pulled from the womb. In fact, the hype around them happened so early that they didn’t really get noticed for their own songs, it was the R&B covers that did the job. But tonight is a different matter, as before the gig they hand a setlist around to journalists, adding a * next to original songs. Looks like there’s something to prove here.
They arrive on stage dressed to the nines, with lead singer Ross Farrelly adorning what will surely become his signature I-wear-sunglasses-inside-like-Glasvegas-look. But, unlike James Allan, he pulls it off with Gallagher-esque cockiness that doesn’t make you want to punch him.
Technically they are flawless. The bass player could without a doubt take on Flea. The musicianship that goes into their new songs, although it is not totally original, is something to be truly excited about. ‘Perfect Storm’, along with fan favourite ‘Blue Collar Jane’, are the best songs of the night. Fast, straight to the point and catchy. The crowd even DANCE to them. We’ve seen the stale side of gigs where people are statues and we’ve seen the ugly side where people spit on the lifeless bodies of knocked out teenagers. But never something as nice as dancing. It’s also good to see a modern guitar band become so immersed in what they play, rather than staring moodily at the floor swinging their fringes to the side.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine though. Self-written song ‘I’m No Good’ has its problems. "Don’t call me sugar/because I ain’t so sweet." It’s lines like this with the typical rock ‘n’ roll guitar formula that brings the cliché of this whole idea to new heights, which can become slightly bland in large doses. But as they return to the stage for an encore of Bobby Troup’s ‘Route 66’ and Bobby Bland’s ‘Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City’, all is immediately forgotten.
Someone bitches on the way out of the gig: “Did you see them leaning into the crowd thinking they were rock stars?” They’re all under 18, have already got a hoard of celebrity fans, an inexplicable knowledge of their songcraft and some kick-ass suits. If they aren’t rock stars, we don’t who is. Whatever your opinion of The Strypes, you cannot deny they are fun, and for now and the upcoming festival circuit, that’s all they need to be. But with everybody from Dave Grohl to Elton John bigging them up, we’re sure they’ll be fine.
Words by Jamie Carson