Gig Review: THE STRYPES + THE RAGLANS at the Guildford Boileroom – 18/05/2015

Strypes 2 So there’s a band from Ireland you want to check out with Irish support – where do you go? Guildford, naturally!
Which is just what Mark K did when he heard The Strypes were playing…

Cavan’s finest have hit the road for a tour of small venues in order to road-test new material from their forthcoming album Little Victories. They are preceded by The Raglans, a four piece from Dublin.

Raglans 1 Seeing The Raglans live is a little like being hit on the head with a very tuneful sledgehammer. Imagine Travis with balls. But wait! What’s this?? A mandolin!!!! The first song that this worthy instrument is used on is called Icarus, and (whisper it soft) has a whiff of U2 about it. I hope these boys aren’t flying too close to the sun with their appropriation of 1980s ‘Big Music’!
There is more to them than that however. Their material is both melodic and delivered with a passion that is a joy to behold. There are surprises too. Their set ends in an explosive maelstrom of percussionwhich takes the audience aback a bit. I think we’ll be hearing more from The Raglans.
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However, fashionably late, we have the main event The Strypes running onto the stage in a line (as Josh McClorey will later say) “just like The Monkees”. Although they kick off with Snapshot staples What A Shame and Hometown Girls, for over half of the set they keep away from such familiar territory and concentrate on the new album.

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There’s a good reason for this – the new material is shit hot, and not only stands up well in comparison with their material from Snapshot, it stands up well when compared with the covers that formerly comprised a fair chunk of their set. Particular stand-outs are Now She’s Gone with its Zep-style riffage, Cruel Brunette with its reggae tinges, and Queen Of The Half Crown with its twist of Hendrix.

Strypes 3 Indeed, covers are notable by their near absence. With material this good The Strypes don’t need them! However, tonight we get three: mid set there’s a 100mph version of Joe Jackson’s I’m The Man; and for encores they serve up The MC5’s Kick Out The Jams, and Willie Dixon’s You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover. Strypes 4

A Strypes gig is a cocktail of super-adrenalised Dr.Feelgood and Led Zeppelin, garnished with a dash of punk. However, they sound more like themselves than anyone else. As much as I enjoyed seeing them at the Boileroom, I somehow think that they’ll be playing much bigger rooms next time around.

Mark Kelly