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Therapy? Go Unplugged And Unleashed In London

Photo of Therapy?

Band Photo: Therapy? (?)

Back in the nineties, the word "alternative" was thrown around like a jobber in the ring with The Undertaker. Over time, the bands who were being tagged with this label began to sound like each other, though some groups proved they were worthy of such a title, sounding like no one else and being difficult to pinpoint. If ever there was a band who fit that description, it would be Northern Ireland's own, Therapy? Achieving underground and then mainstream success with such albums as "Nurse," "Troublegum" and "Infernal Love" and are still going strong today. "How strong" you ask? Well, how many bands can tear the roof off the place at an acoustic show?

The show took place at Nells Jazz and Blues Club in Kensington, London, a charming club which was able to host one of the best atmospheres one could have at a Friday evening gig, letting the sunlight in through the surrounding windows, while candlelit tables welcomed rockers of all ages and tastes to the show, anchored by friendly and talkative staff. There was no support tonight, Therapy? would take to the stage with their instruments and that would be that. They received a hero's welcome as they did so and opened the set with the memorable, "Living In The Shadow Of A Terrible Thing" from their superb 2012 album, "A Brief Crack of Light."

From then on, the crowd devoured every note which flowed from the fingertips of Andy Cairns and Michael McKeegan, along with the rhythmic perfection of birthday boy, Neil Cooper on drums. In the first of two sets, a number of old favourites such as "Die Laughing" and "Trigger Inside" were brought out, along with songs from their forthcoming new album, "Cleave" such as "Crutch" and "No Sunshine." In between these, cult classics like "Our Love Must Die" and "Still Hurts" were taken out of the trunk to the delight of those in attendance, before finishing the first set with the Husker Du cover, "Diane."

Keeping with the venue setting, the band made it an intimate night to remember, conversing with individual fans and sharing stories, one of the more notable of which was Andy's tale of going to the emergency room after being unable to sleep for days, only to be told by the untrusting doctor that "if I just give you drugs, you're just going to take them!" as well as the difference between Belgian and English hospitality, saying that when performing in the former recently, he was given a Belgian football shirt after saying he had a soft spot for them, while after making a similar remark about the English team, he was treated to no less than four bags of Monster Munch. He also took the time to take jabs at Brexit, the British government's poor treatment of healthcare staff and politicians such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

The second set was just as enjoyable as the first, if not moreso. Containing more crowd pleasers like "Disgracelands" and "Stop It You're Killing Me," as well as more recent favourites such as "Tides," "Evil Elvis" and "Opal Mantra," fans welcomed every single song with open arms and the trio seemed to be having just as much fun playing as those watching them. Another new song from "Cleave," in this instance, the single, "Callow" was also performed before the band finished up with a trio of "Troublegum" favourites, "Nowhere," "Knives" and "Screamager." Those of you who may have been sceptical about a band with the intensity and natural electricity of Therapy? going unplugged should put your minds to rest right now, because they're every bit as fun without the distortion and feedback. A wonderful evening from one of Britain's most undeservedly underrated bands.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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