Therapy?, Ricky Warwick
Miss Fliss 19/10/2009
Therapy? made me want to burn all my indie records last night. Seering, dark, brutal almighty rock is far more vivifying. You wouldn't think it was a mere trio on stage, but the simple combo of single guitar, bass, and drums is all it takes to make their heavyweight soundscape. The drums are at once crisp and clonking, at times pummelled with vicious tenacity, Andy Cairns' guitar a steady sure buzzing fuzz that can give way to mindblowing punk speed, and the bass is an evil undertow. Andy Cairns still has the voice of a serial killer. And yet there's a euphoria to this menacing music too.
For anyone who thinks Therapy? are irrelevant or long ago matured and now just plodding on: think again. Crooked Timber off the new album is slipped in towards the cue of the slew of encore hits and reclines with stout smugness in its position of comfort around the likes of an old solid gold classic like Nowhere. Not a song left me cold or bored tonight, it was one of those gigs where there is never a moment worth slipping off to the bar for respite, and you hardly want to exit to the toilets lest you miss a thing.
Again, The Garage proved its worth as one of London's best venues with its sound quality making absolutely perfect the crunch of guitars, the violent hammering slam of drums and the crucial chunky body of bass. The choice of setlist was a winner, with all the more overt favourites saved till last, and some interesting choices forming the corpus of the set. Opal Mantra opened things up nicely. Joy Division cover Isolation from 1994's Troublegum album got a hefty pounding. B-side Summer of Hate reared and roared its head to great welcome, with its Fuck Woodstock! refrain. I Told you I was Ill was dedicated to Spike Milligan. Rain Hits Concret was blistering bluster. Die Like a Motherfucker is a bit of a shame of a song for me, just smacks of the sweary song that angry teenagers think is a bit naughty and so chant along to with rebellion. And if a line were to be drawn about Therapy? being too testosterone-fuelled a band for some women, then that might be the one to do it, too. It's puerile.
When Andy Cairns set into a rendition of The Beatles' Nowhere Man, it was a nice touch, and I think we all knew what song was going to be played. Nowhere launched itself like a rocket, and it was time to re-enact student union dance floors with frenetic moshing. Stories also leapt up from the bag of classics, but of course it was Screamager that inspired a riot of arms, legs, and flying fists and hair (including Bill Bailey-alikes that have the power to blind you with their flowing rock locks). And that was it, a spot on gig by a band that still matter; a band that are big and loud and talented enough to be playing if not Wembley then at least Brixton Academy.
Keep your eyes out for the in depth interview we did with Therapy?, which will be appearing on this site soon.