Venue: Garage, Glasgow
Date: 14 November 2018
There are few, if any, better albums released this year than Therapy?’s perfectly titled Cleave. An album whose razor sharp riffs really do cut to the bone. An astounding album that continues the mini revival this band have enjoyed since the release of Disquiet in 2015. Therapy? have hit a rich seam of rage and fury.
Would this transfer to stage? Of course it would, and the ferocity and intensity of delivery made this one of my favourite shows of the year. There is a slight contradiction going on here when Therapy? play live as their songs are dark, angry and reflect on the bleak, miserable uncertainty of modern life but they do it with a smile on their faces and although the combination shouldn’t really work, it does, and then some.
Andy Cairns is the slightly schizophrenic front man with the mad eyes and many a story to tell. He has had his demons to contend with off-stage but on it his enthusiasm and passion is infectious, and he carries the crowd along with him. It helps that, despite the dark song content, the riffs and songs are as catchy as hell and you can’t help but nod your head and scream out the choruses.
Tonight’s set is dominated by both Cleave and the album that brought the band to world attention the brilliant Troublegum, now over 24 years old. Both albums contribute 8 songs each in a 23 song set. The band are clearly and rightly proud of the new album and start and finish the show with tracks from it. From Wreck It Like Beckett through to Success? Success Is Survival the show rarely pauses for breath. We don’t even have the eerie and unnerving Husker Du cover Diane to get a breather in as it is the fast version played tonight. The set is littered with highlights. From Cleave, ‘Callow’, as on the album, is a stand out along with I Stand Alone. The monster songs from Troublegum like Die Laughing, Knives, Screamager, Trigger Inside and Nowhere never grow old. As powerful today as the day they were released. The latter song was even preceded by a bit of Judas Priest’s Breaking the Law. We even have a cheesy Flower of Scotland followed by Slayer’s Raining Blood before launching into main set closer Stop It You’re Killing Me.
It was also the drummer Neil Cooper’s birthday. The only problem with that is that it’s always his birthday but the crowd play along with the joke although it’s actually 1st August. Bassist Michael Keegan is the ever-smiling ‘evil priest’ and would be a good shout for a scary movie acting role.
With a seven song encore we definitely got our money’s worth and when you look at the lyrics of Therapy? with songs that deal with depression, suicide, addiction and madness among other fun subjects you really shouldn’t be having such an enjoyable evening but when the top five gig lists of the year come out this will be vying for a top spot. An outstanding night.
Wreck it Like Beckett / Expelled / Die Laughing / Lonely, Cryin’, Only / Kakistocracy / Turn / Callow / Opal Mantra / Save Me From The Ordinary / Diane / Trigger Inside / I Stand Alone / Screamager / Teethgrinder / Potato Junkie / Stop It You’re Killing Me Encore: Unbeliever / Insecurity / Crutch / Stories / Nowhere / Knives / Success? Success Is Survival
Wreck It Like Beckett