LIVE REVIEW: Therapy? @ The Scala, London (09/04/2014)
Therapy? played at The Scala tonight to celebrate 20 years since the release of their seminal LP ‘Troublegum’ and the release of a commemorative version of the album. It’s been a fair while since this venue had felt this busy but clearly everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted to be as close to the stage as possible.
This band had the potential to be huge but were victims of the ‘Nirvana’ effect. They were initially swallowed-up by the emergence of the ‘grunge’ scene, which caused them to be, unfairly, considered less deserving than the American bands that streamed across the Atlantic to leave us awash with long hair and lumberjack jackets. Then 20 years ago as ‘Troublegum’ assaulted our grateful ears, Kurt Cobain died, ‘Britpop’ came to the fore and Therapy? were considered just that bit too ‘heavy’, just that bit too ‘metal’ and just that bit too ‘grunge’ to be swept along for the ride alongside the fops and the lads.
All of those retrospective opinions aside, tonight the band were in amazingly energetic form. It wasn’t quite a Motorhead gig (although the smell from the gents’ toilets might have convince you otherwise) but it was bursting with passion, sweaty hair, bulging eyes and hollering. The playback of ‘Troublegum’ is simply as perfect a replica of an album, live, as you could ever hope for and only served to rev the audience up for more. A set blessed with ‘Evil Elvis’, ‘Speedball’ and ‘Bloody Blue’ and with only a tiny number of dates on this 20th Anniversary tour, it felt a real privilege to see this.
Singer and guitarist Andy Cairns has a few wrinkles these days but hasn’t piled on the pounds as you’d perhaps have expected after 20 years of a rock and roll lifestyle. He remains an appealing and captivating focus for the band and as the evening drew to an end was a solid reminder that the current crop of 80s pastiche and plastic bands could still do well to learn from them. To learn what it means to grab and hold the audience in the palm of your hand, roll them around for fun, and then toss them out into the night air gasping for encores is a truly special art. Tonight, Therapy? managed all of this and more.
WORDS AND PHOTOS: DAN AITCH