Saki Mitsuyama and Ami Kikuchi chat with the Celt's Jenny McGovern.

Japanese girls travel almost 6,000 miles for Strypes' hometown gigs

Jenny McGovern

The Town Hall realised its full potential last weekend, the crowds walked into the hall greeted by Phil Lynott’s tell tale croon of ‘The boys are back in Town’ echoing the atmosphere that was felt when Thin Lizzy graced the very same stage exactly 30 years ago to the night. They came in their droves for the Cavan boys’ homecoming gigs - Dublin, England, Germany, Japan some even made the trip from Ballinagh, all to see the local heroes in action. 2013 has been without a doubt the year of the Strypes.
The venue was packed to the rafters each of the three nights - and the rafters never looked so well. Blue Valentines productions, with Joe Keenan at the helm, had transformed the Mecca of bingo players into a stunning music venue. Seating had been banished, the lights lit and the curtains drawn for what was to be an unforgettable three gigs.
Saki Mitsuyama (22) travelled 5,995 miles from her home in Shizuoka, Japan to see her idols in Cavan. This was her first time to Europe and she admits her grasp of the English language is limited. She was one of three Japanese girls who trekked to Cavan for the gig. Her reason? Speaking in broken English she put it in its simplest terms: “I like the Strypes”. Leaving Japan on Christmas day she flew to Turkey, then Dublin and finally hopped on a bus to Cavan. She slept in McCauls guesthouse and attended the three gigs, before flying back to Japan on Monday morning - no sightseeing, no travelling - she simply came to see The Strypes.

‘I believe’
Rock ‘n’ Roll legend BP Fallon flew from his home in New York to introduce the Strypes, telling the crowd: “I believe in County Cavan, I believe in Town Hall nights, I believe in Josh and Ross and Pete and Evan I believe in The Strypes”.
Each night the lads threw themselves into a blistering hour long set list. The 450 strong crowd, sang, clapped, cheered and shimmeyed to songs from The Strypes’ debut album ‘Snapshot’ as well as several promising new tunes. The boys were visibly delighted to be back home playing to such a responsive crowd, amongst which stood many of their school friends. It was indeed a thoroughly Cavan affair with Josh McClorey inviting special guest, guitarist Darragh Slacke up to join them for an incendiary version of ‘Stormy Monday Blues’. Josh declared that Slacke, adorned in a his khaki suit and trademark hat was ‘the best guitarist I’ve ever met.”
This reviewer had the pleasure of attending each gig and can confirm that everybody left the Town Hall grinning from ear to ear safe in the knowledge that they’d witnessed something special.
Joe Keenan the man behind it all told the Celt: “It was such an amazing weekend, it felt like a mini festival. The Town Hall came alive and looked wonderful with The Strypes’ imagery all around. We had such a great team of people to work with and there was positive energy coming from every angle.
The band really have come of age, the power and confidence of them on stage and their friendliness and time for fans backstage has really impressed me. What a way to end the year!”

The Celt caught up with the Strypes after their third show, tired and sweaty but clearly elated they told the Celt of their highlights from their Hometown Gigs.
Evan: “The whole weekend was amazing, there were so many highlights, too many to mention but having Darragh Slacke guest with us on stage was great fun as was the after show jam in Blessings. It went by too quickly.”
Josh: “Playing the Town Hall was an ambition of ours and to sell out three nights was mind blowing! To have all our mates and family there was such a buzz, it’s hard to put into words really. Thanks to everyone who came along and made it so special.”
Ross: “It was incredible that people travelled from all over the world to be there, so it was important to show that Cavan could pull it off, and we did! Everyone that worked on the shows, the crew were amazing, special thanks should go to Joe Keenan and Jane McCormick they are unsung heroes.”
Pete: “We had the best craic ever. From beginning to end it was just a joy. It was great to have people like Lisa O’Neill and The Would Bes on the bill, both great Cavan acts. It felt like being part of something really special and having BP there to introduce us, just put the tin hat on it!”