Therapy? fans are a strange mob. From supporting the band through to special guest status to Metallica in front of 90,000 fans at Donnington in 1995 their numbers have fluctuated to say the least. In recent years going from the smaller venues back to selling out huge ones on the Troublegum anniversary tour and back to smaller venues there after. Now, once again we are back in bigger arena’s for this November tour. It’s hard to explain how a bands fan base can fluctuate so much, but one thing is for sure, the band always put on one hell of a show.
There is barely room to move in the Asylum in Birmingham for the band, seemingly on an upward trajectory again following the critical acclaim that their two most recent albums have garnered. The room is all but sold out, fans packed in like sardines awaiting the return of Northern Ireland's biggest rock exports.
Along for the ride are Therapy?'s label mates on Marshall Records, King Creature. An out and out hard rock band in sound, but with an ethos very much in the heavy metal world. These guys put on a show right from the off, big riffs, bigger smiles and chunky basslines have the crowd bouncing along. Guitarist, Matt Vincent, obviously takes a heavy dose of inspiration from Zakk Wylde. Playing style, stage presence and even the imagery are oozing the legendary axeman and Vincent puts in some killer solo’s throughout the 45 minute set. Led by frontman Dave Kellaway, the bands rock and roll mantra grips the fan base, it’s a joyous set and leaves me wanting more.
Throughout the years Therapy? have not stopped writing and recording and have amassed a huge back catalogue of over 15 full length albums from which they can produce a setlist. So its unsurprising they consume a full two hours on stage tonight.
With a new album, Cleeve, to promote they kick off the evening with two ditties from the opus ‘Wreck It Like
Beckett’ and ‘Expelled’. Most bands would slip the new material in mid set, but opening with it shows the bands faith in their new material. Throughout the evening six of the ten sings from Cleeve will feature and they meld in well with all the existing material.
Along with the new material, this really is a greatest hits set, ‘Die Laughing’ features early on as McKeegan jumps around the stage, smile as wide as his face, then man never fails to enjoy himself. This date is their last of the year at the end of the long tour and the band are showing signs of wear, Cairn’s voice at little throaty at points. It doesn’t distract from the show, it’s as good as ever, the musicianship tight as they weave through a stunning performance.
It is when the old school hits are played that the roof is blown off the Asylum. ‘Potatoe Junkie’, a long-time favourite of everyone who has ever heard Therapy? and then the Troublegum classic’s ‘Screamager’, ‘Nowhere’ and ‘Knives’ to top off an already fantastic show.
Therapy? go from strength to strength and it’s always a pleasure to catch them live.