by Johnathan Ramsay
Guitar solos have been a staple part of rock music since the beginning; they’re cool, they’re exciting and there’s something majestic about a guitar solo that can just leave you in complete awe. Upcoming Irish rock band The Strypes packed a bevy of guitar solos into their set at Newcastle University, but the mighty guitar was somewhat overshadowed by the humble harmonica…
Front man Ross Farrelly had the crowd spellbound with slick harmonica solos, giving a nod to the classic rhythm and blues music that inspires the youthful four-piece. From their look to their sound, it’s clear the band are looking to revive a by-gone era of rock and roll whilst putting their own stamp on it. With crashing riffs and a 100 mile an hour pace, The Strypes mix RnB with a gritty punk approach to rock.
Sporting large reflective shades and with little chat in between songs, the enigmatic Farrelly gave nothing away throughout the performance. Bassist Peter O’Hanlon quickly became the focal point on stage, not only because of his bright red creepers and matching guitar, but for his unrelenting energy. O’Hanlon had full control over the crowd, without a word he’d give someone the eyes and usher them from the side-lines into the rowdier middle section of the venue.
With the crowd in the palm of their hands The Strypes exhibited an infectious chemistry, pulling out some classic rock and roll moves. O’Hanlon led with robotic head movements between chords, followed by the entire band completely freezing mid-song before a thunderous breakdown.
Despite only being in their early twenties, the lads from Cavan have been performing together for almost eight years now and it shows. They’ve managed to craft a unique sound and style that pays homage to the ‘golden age’ of rock without crossing the line into the realms of parody, whilst also perfecting an engaging and raw live show. The Strypes don’t care if harmonica solos are cool or not, they’ve found their own lane and they’re thriving in it.