Review: Therapy? Live in London

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Therapy? rolled into London on April 9 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic Troublegum album with a sold-out show at the Scala. Here's five things we learned from watching Andy Cairns and co...

LONELY THE BRAVE ARE GOING TO MAKE BIG, BIG WAVES IN 2014

Tonight’s support, Cambridge quintet Lonely The Brave, have been marked as Ones To Watch since the release of their excellent Backroads EP at the tail end of 2013. By the time their debut album The Day’s War drops in June the buzz on this lot will be deafening. Their stage manner might be idiosyncratic – one wonders whether vocalist David Jakes’ penchant for lurking at the back of the stage will translate when they graduate to rooms bigger than this – but their songs already sound stadium-sized, assimilating hardcore, grunge and prog elements while sounding utterly fresh and modern. Jakes’ heart-stopping voice is their trump card: how he’ll react to being pushed into the spotlight should be interesting.

THERE’S A GOOD REASON WHY ROCK MAGAZINES ACCLAIMED TROUBLEGUM AS 1994’S FINEST ALBUM

1994 was an incredible year for rock music, with NIN’s The Downward Spiral, Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven, Jeff Buckley’s Grace and Soundgarden’s Superunknown among the marquee releases. But when UK rock writers were polled for their album of the year, Therapy?’s second full-length album emerged as the clear winner. Twenty years on, it still sounds impossibly vibrant. Aired in full tonight, from the thrillingly corrosive Knives to the sinister staccato lurch of Unrequited, via killer singles Screamager, Nowhere and Trigger Inside, the Irish trio’s million-selling masterpiece remains the perfect meld of punk rock attitude, metallic riffing and pitch black humour.

ONCE UPON A TIME B-SIDES MATTERED

In the digital age, the notion of bands recording B-sides seems impossibly quaint, but back in the mists of time, one could tell a lot about a band by the material they chose to showcase on the flip-side of their single releases. It might be inadvisable for Therapy? to pull out the likes of Evil Elvis, Speedball or Pantopon Rose during a mid-afternoon festival set, but in front of a hugely partisan crowd, these lesser known gems are greeted like jukebox standards. And that joyously affectionate cover of Breaking The Law will never, ever get old.

ALL GIGS SHOULD END WITH A BIG SWEARY SINGALONG

There are precious few occasions when a person can acceptably celebrate a sibling’s carnal activities, but the “James Joyce is fucking my sister” kiss-off of Potato Junkie is fabulously cathartic when borne aloft by 1,000 voices. Scores of people are still bawling the line as they pour onto the streets of Kings Cross at the climax of Therapy?’s 25 song set.

THERAPY? ARE TOO DAMN GOOD TO BE FILED AWAY AS A NOSTALGIA ACT

As Therapy? were loading their backline into the Scala news broke that Andy Cairns’ group had been confirmed to play their dark, provocative follow-up to Troublegum, 1995’s Infernal Love album, in full at this summer’s Sonisphere festival. Such one-off performances are a delight, but it would be a terrible injustice if this most fearless, subversive and joyously awkward collective were to be treated as an act whose finest hours are to be glimpsed only in rear view mirrors. Chances are we won’t see a 20th anniversary salute to A Brief Crack Of Light in 2032, but the trio’s relentless quest to evolve bodes well for an as-yet-unwritten future.

_Therapy? round off their Troublegum anniversary tour at Southampton’s Mo’ Club on April 11. The deluxe reissues of Troublegum and Infernal Love are available now through Universal. _