Gig review: Therapy? @ Manchester Academy

Those who grew up in the mid-nineties will no doubt crave the sounds from ‘back in the day’ and may feel that a dose of Therapy? is in order.

Fortunately, Manchester grunge fans were treated to a shortsharpshock as Larne lads Therapy? rocked up at Academy 2.

The Irish band spent last night playing their 1994 ‘teenage angst’ classic Troublegum record in its entity.

Although twenty years from when they released the album the trio still appear to have retained their youth and most certainly their enthusiasm.

Frontman Andy Cairns still looks like the ‘satanic teddy bear’ that Kerrang! christened him back in the nineties.

And Perma-grinning bassman Michael McKeegan, also of the Evil Priest, looks fairly unweathered by the last 20 years although he looks remarkable like Boy George without his slap.

As the gig starts anyone at all familiar with Troublegum will be unsurprised to learn that they kicked off with Knives.

Andy hammers out the first barrage of power chords before gloriously opening the song with the line ‘My girlfriend says that I’m bad news, my boyfriend says I’d be better off dead’.

He’s all crazed eyes and Scream-killer voice, and even as he sings the immortal lyric there’s a smile not far from his lips that says ‘I don’t really mean it…mannn’.

The band sold over two million copies in their heyday and is still clearly popular with the Manchester faithful.

Troublegum is an album full of nailgun riffs, great tunes and lashings of black humour.

Religious guilt, self loathing and psycho-sexual trauma have never sounded such fun, as the mosh pit that forms immediately attests to.

This is a proper sweaty rock gig, with sopping mops of hair thrashing around, slam-dancing, crowd-surfers and pogoing aplenty.

Michael can’t keep a huge smile from his face as he gleefully conducts the mayhem before him while Andy gets on with the ‘donkey work’ of actually singing the tunes.

One time single Nowhere is preceded by a snippet of The Beatles’ Nowhere Man – punk metalised, obviously.

While Die Laughing is dedicated to Labour Party hero Tony Benn who recently passed away.

THANKS MANCHESTER: Andy Cairns praises influence city had on his music career

Andy then turns on the charm offensive, telling the crowd how important Manchester and its music scene have been to him.

“Without this city we wouldn’t fucking be here tonight,” he screamed down the microphone.

“The first record I ever bought was by a band from Manchester called The Buzzcocks and the record that made me want to pick up a guitar and form a band was Unknown Pleasures by a band called Joy Division.”

Those paying attention would also realise that the dedication also serves as a handy prelude to their cover of the latter’s Isolation.

Another highlight is when Michael – the ‘evil priest’ himself – leads the crowd in a bit of audience participation.

Chants and screams of the word ‘CHRIST’ echoed during the wonderfully unhinged Lunacy Booth.

Once Troublegum’s metallic but ludicrously infectious anthems are dispensed with, it’s on to the second set which is mainly comprised of EP tracks and B-sides from the Troublegum era.

Gold Blade frontman Jon Robb takes to the stage for vocal duties on Membranes’ cover Tatty Seaside Town, which is a punked up treat.

Judas Priest’s Breaking the Law is another fun cover before the set ends with Teethgrinder, the stand out track from debut album Nurse.

After the show a T-shirt on sale featured the Troublegum album cover with the slogan ‘Where were you in ’94?’

In truth though, it doesn’t really matter.

If you were here last night you got it just as good, if not better than two decades ago.

Image couresty of Therapy?, via YouTube, with thanks

Related Articles