As Belfast’s Therapy? tour their 15th album Getintothis’ Howard Doupé headed out to prove that they still have something to say after near 30 years.
It’s a fairly cool Friday night and this is one town that doesn’t need reminding Friday nights are meant for music, beer and all-round good times.
Coming into Gorilla tonight there doesn’t seem to be too much evidence that anything more than a regular student club night is on. There’s plenty of room by the bar and not a single sight of a discarded plastic pint pot strewn across the floor.
It’s fair to say there does feel an air of anticipation, which should be expected. After all Therapy?’s back catalogue is bulging. We’re pretty sure you could bet there won’t be many people these days who’s initial venture out to their first gig will still find them gigging 24 years later. That’s testament to Therapy? for still hammering away at the rock game.
Support King Creature on at early doors, certainly set about instilling the night as a metal one. Wearing uniform patches, black vest tops, chain laden jeans the Marshall stacks are squealing. It’s a ferocious sound but with the acknowledgement that riffs and hooks make a tune.
There’s so many metal reference points on show here, thunderous double kick-pedals a-plenty as the drummer gives his hair some air. It might be one guitar squeal too many for this set of ears but as a live experience it’s not bad being a metal tourist for half an hour.
Yeah those fingers must be smouldering with all the fret board work but warming up the audience is perfectly executed by this Cornwall four-piece. By the time their set comes to an end, turning around to see what’s going on reveals how the room has filled up immensely. Not long till the main event.
Known for its well air conditioned room, there’s a surprising amount of stifling heat down the front that just adds to the increasing pre-set intensity of the tunes filtering through the PA. It’s rammed by the time Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan and Neil Cooper take to the stage.
The set starts with Wreck It Like Beckett the first track of their recently released Cleave. The pace rarely lets up. Tonight, in this cramp, sweaty room the love felt for the band is heart-warming. Ever the charismatic front man, Cairns is on fine form tonight, engaging with the faithful devotees in-between almost every song.
It’s fair to say he’s a man with something to say. Multiple times tonight he’s on a politically-charged manifesto. Don’t worry, it’s not all Bono-insipid drivel. Instead Cairns repeatedly calls out music as a powerful tool that brings communities together, something that the current world climate seems hell-bent on pulling apart. Cairns is genuinely concerned about things and is so indebted to the fans for sticking with them all through the years.
As a reciprocal thank you, tonight was a far more career-spanning set compared to the last time we saw them opening up for The Stranglers earlier this year. Instead, those classic Therapy? tunes are only littered with a few cuts from the latest LP. Some real early tunes from Face The Strange and ShortSharpShock EP’s really get the mosh-pit going.
It’s exactly at this point a mere 25 minutes in that a full pint ricochets off our shoulder soaking at least three people around us. Yes, it’s now officially a proper alternative metal, punk rock gig!
The passion for the music is as strong as ever for these three. It’s quite inspiring to see. How many other bands can keep going after 28 years in the business and still be throwing tunes out like they’re playing them with the eagerness of freshly written offerings.
Of course the hit singles get an airing but the sheer volume means there’s an eight song encore in order to do so. Who can blame ‘em? We don’t think the crowd would have minded a few more hours of this.
It’s been a right old trip down memory lane tonight. Spot on lads.