The Strypes at the Mod Club

March 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm (Uncategorized)

Two months back, the Strypes played their first North American  show at Lee’s Palace: One of the best shows I had seen in a long time. So, when I heard they were returning to Toronto, this time at the Mod Club, (I’m sorry I can’t bring myself to say the Virgin Mod Club), I knew where I would be March 22.

I knew the show was an early one, but it still seemed a bit weird arriving at the club in daylight. Last time out I complained that there was no merch table, but the $30 price on t-shirts didn’t thrill me this time. I’m still looking for the deluxe version of their debut Snapshot with the band’s cover of the Coasters’ “I’m a Hog for you baby, ” but I digress.

Sam Cash and the Romantic Dogs (sorry, I don’t get it) were up first. They played a catchy power-pop rock that was immediately attractive, but whose appeal tended to fade over the course of the set. The slower numbers in particular didn’t work for me. Still, they were tight musically and the audience responded well to them, so maybe it was me eager for the main attraction.

And what to say about the Strypes? They used to talk about the Who’s sound as Maximum R & B, but that’s not a bad description for the Strypes either. Pulling in early Stones, Dr. Feelgood and the energy of punk, they make a fearsome muscial medley. I want also to make a plug for much-maligned pub rock here as an anteceedent: Eddie and the Hot Rods, who made the mistakes of being just a little too early for punk and wore flares when it was no longer fashionalbe, but contributed a fantastic sound and a classic tune, “Do Anything you Wanna Do.”

The Strypes played for a little over an hour tearing through their debut album and a choice selection of covers (Coasters, Lew Lewis, Bo Diddley and probably a few I’ve missed), and ended with a one song encore.  I’ll employ the whole rock-and-roll is-like-sex metaphor  to suggest the show began with a lot of excitement and anticipation, built throughout and climaxed (oops!) with a wonder where you didn’t know if ecstacy or a heart attack was on the horizen.  

And yet…I’m not sure if it was because it was the second time I’d seen them in as many months or it was that familiarity breeds contempt, but the Lee’s show as better. The band seemed to be having more fun, there was more banter from the stage and the set was longer. Dunno.

Ah, forget it.

Rather than being petty, let’s end on a positive note and say that regardless of those little digs, the Strypes are a fantasic live band. Their album Snapshot is one of those records that no matter the volume there’s a voice in your head which says it would be better louder, and that voice is right; but you still need to experience them live to get the full effect.

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