REVIEW: Therapy? & The Membranes – Limelight, Belfast
Just over a year since they were recognised with the Oh Yeah Legends Award in Belfast, Therapy? are back. On their previous tour they had played the ever popular album,‘Troublegum’ but this time things were going to be a bit different.
Support on the night came from the post punk outfit, The Membranes who should be given credit for having to entertain a gathering crowd so early on a Saturday night. They immediately introduced themselves to the crowd, literally as the lead vocalist took time to shake hands with audience members.
Loud, abrasive with a sound that can’t be pinned down, they certainly made themselves known. Rattling through a half hour set, again they took time to interact with the crowd and urge those already in attendance to gather further forward.
Therapy? open with the track ‘Epilepsy’ and throughout it, strobe lights flash into the audience; the irony is not lost. Cairns uses an interlude half way through the track as a chance to explain what tonight will be all about.
Tonight Therapy will be playing the much talked about follow up to ‘Troublegum’, ‘Infernal Love’. A dark, unique record that at the time of release in 1995, a lot of Therapy? fans found hard to get into.
This was an album written and recorded after the young Larne lads had been thrust into the limelight with the previous offering. It was one written under pressure and while the band, in particular, Cairns dealt with personal demons. Cairns announces that ‘tonight we will rid ourselves of these demons once again’.
Therapy? continue through their set with tracks such as ‘Stories’, ‘A Moment of Clarity’ and ‘Bowels of Love’. Tracks such as ‘Misery’ and ‘Loose’ are particularly well received by the now almost hypnotised crowd. They respond to the melancholy of these tracks by swaying and the odd glimmer of optimism or positivity is responded to with a clap or cheer.
‘We are going to Katy’s after… and you’s are buying’ says Cairns as they interject humour to the gloomy set. Throughout the show Cairns goes on to talk to the crowd about being back in Belfast and reminiscing that it has been 25 years since they last played on The Limelight stage. Looking through the faces in the crowd and their reactions, there is a good possibility that some of those faces were present there, 25 years previous.
Therapy? move on to one of the bleakest tracks on ‘Infernal Love’. The dark and twisted lyrics to ‘Diane’ are well matched by the strings that accompany the track. Cairns casts a lone figure on the stage.
Therapy? finish the ‘Infernal Love’ set to the track ’30 seconds’ which contains the repeated lyrics of ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel’. This makes for a good transition to more popular and upbeat tracks.
After a quick break, Therapy? reappear on stage and are greeted with a loud cheer from the crowd as they know they will be now treated to some of the band bigger hits.
They start with ‘Still Hurts’ before moving on with ‘Trigger Inside’ and a track of their new record ‘Deathstimate’. It is worth noting that this year Therapy? have released a new album, ‘Disquiet’ and although they only play a handful of tracks from it, they stand up against the older, more established and well known tracks. This is no surprise as Cairns has admitted that these tracks can be likened to tracks on ‘Troublegum’.
Tracks such as ‘Unbeliever’, ‘Insecurity’ and ‘Nausea’ follow and the crowd can tell from the set that we are approaching the climax. To finish, Therapy? treat them to ‘Die Laughing’, ‘Potato Junkie’, ‘Knives’ and of course the anthemic ‘Nowhere’ to close the second set and show.
‘Belfast! We are Therapy? and we love you! Thank you from the bottom of our twisted hearts!’ proclaimed Cairns as they left the stage to rapturous applause. The crowd could tell that this almost homecoming gig had meant a good deal to the band as they revisit their past and continue to look to the future.
Therapy? are a rite of passage for any NI fan of rock, punk or metal over the past 25 years. Again tonight they proved this as well as proving their relevance in 2015.