The Strypes Debut in North America

January 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

It was bloody cold on Monday night. Still, the Strypes were making their North America debut at Lee’s Palace, so it seemed worth risking frost bite to check them out (as it turned out the next couple of days have been even colder, so Monday looks good in retrospect).

But I digress. Got to Lee’s about 9:15 mid-set for opening band the Canadian Shield. not crazy about the name lads, but the punky hard rock (sorry, couldn’t resist) two-piece made a good impression on the crowd. It wasn’t exactly my thing, but they were energetic and made a great  racket. (Bandcamp has their stuff, so it’s something to add to the list)

The thing that struck me as I arrived was how full Lee’s was. Arriving before the main band on a cold Monday night would usually mean I could have the pick of the place, but Lee’s was at least 75% full. The Strypes rep preceded them.

I’m going to avoid jokes about how young the band are, but let’s just say, if they weren’t on stage, they wouldn’t have been allowed in the club. When they ambled onto the stage a few minutes past ten, the band seemed like the cool kids in a battle of the bands contest at your local high school. But if anyone at Lee’s had that impression, it lasted only a few seconds.

The Strypes play r and b. The r ‘n’ b the Stones played. The r ‘n’ b of the Pretty Things, the Yardbirds, and Dr. Feelgood.   In other words, blues, hard and fast. With a nod to the past, but an eye on the future, the band tore through a mixture of originals from their debut Snapshot, tasteful covers like the Coasters “I’m a Hog for You, ” Bo Diddley’s “You Cant’ Judge a Book” (OK, I know it’s a Willie Dixon song) and a searing version of Nick Lowe’s “Heart of the City,” and even a couple of new songs (sorry, can’t remember the titles – I was down the front and thus not able to take notes).

I dunno about you, but it’s something special to see a band when they’re fresh. Not fresh in a “this is the first gig we’ve played” way, but fresh in a  “now we’re a band and we have that confidence we are the greatest thing to  come along” way. The Strypes radiated confidence and they played those songs as if they had been doing it all of their lives but with the energy of the first album.

After a seventy minute set, the band took a brief pause, and returned to play “Louie Louie” and Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie.” A great way to conclude their North American debut. (Only disappointment: no merch table. I really wanted a Strypes t-shirt!)

Before the show began, I was texting a friend. The next morning, the email I sent her about the concert contained only three words:

Fucking. Amazing. Show.

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