It was a strange set of gigs today as people were treated to two short sets from local alt-metalmen Therapy? and art rockers Django Django. I don’t really understand the connection here, but I’m not complaining. The session was recorded by BBC Radio 6, and is available for the next 30 days if you want to listen yourself.
Therapy? came on-stage to an array of applause and had to humorously wait awkwardly on stage for the news to end before jumping in to Troublegum’s ‘Die Laughing’. Frontman Andy Cairns was eager from the start, bringing the crowd into the fun and getting them to sing along with “I can’t remember…”.
The crowd was noticeably middle-aged men at this point, although you could look through gaps in the crowd and notice the indie folks scattered throughout. Next song ‘Innocent X’ was much tighter with Michael McKeegan taking to the front of the stage to play through his rumbling basslines that you could feel in your chest. There was a short rapid fire drum solo courtesy of Neil Cooper, which was wonderfully pumpy.
We got some newer songs with 2015’s ‘Still Hurts’ off Disquiet, a dark track that was absolutely great live with its metallic chords and crunchy verse riffs. We then got a taste of new song ‘Callow’, with a cool heavy metal riff throughout and soaring vocals in the chorus.
A testament to Therapy’s creative output was ‘Nowhere’, an “uplifting” punk rocker with an energetic guitar lead. It was great to see the band one second play a dark alt-metal track and then go into an instrumentally feel good tune without compromising the pacing of the gig. The set ended with the classic track ‘Screamager’. Red lights flooded the stage for this closer as the crowd sang along.
The band put on a pretty good show and funnily for an alt-metal band Cairns and especially McKeegan were in cheery form, with McKeegan’s enthusiasm being genuinely infectious. The tracks were a good balance of old and new, with half the set being from Troublegum (‘Turn’ and ‘Teethgrinder’ were also played), and I have to admit that I was impressed they fit 8 songs into their short 30 minute set.
After an hour and a half Django Django were set to play. At this point three giant LCD doorways were brought on-stage to give the band a moving backdrop. The crowd was noticeably different as well, now being shorter and more fashionable.
Django Django started their set with a distant soundscape, which included bassist Jimmy Dixon singing in to a vocoder. ‘Marble Skies’ honestly blew me away, Therapy? were great and I had high hopes for Django Django but the energy on this track was phenomenal live. The groove was slick and backed by Dixon’s punchy sci-fi basslines, the track felt like a journey through another world.
Following track ‘Tic Tac Toe’ was equally as impressive, carrying a punk-like quality. Amazingly, it started with a theremin, of all things. It was wild seeing keyboardist Tommy Grace hover his hand over an antenna and create instant atmosphere. The high energy track had frontman Vincent Neff take to the percussion during key instrumental sections while Dixon joined David Maclean at the drums.
Rebecca Taylor of Self Esteem was introduced on stage for ‘Surface to Air’, a dark Summer pop-tune. Drums took an exotic beat while the keys played a syncopated Caribbean rhythm. Taylor’s vocals at times seemed jarring, while at other times her deeper range sounded delightfully sultry. She added a lovely presence on stage though, at first being visibly awkward-happy but eventually settling as she added her funky chicken dance moves to the set.
2012’s Django Django’s ‘Waveforms’ came next. While being another nice chilled track with a great drum beat, it didn’t quite live up to the immensity of the first two tracks however the ending had a great build-up. Thankfully they amended this by introducing the final track of their 5 song set.
Air sirens blared as Neff announced this was their last song, the stage was drenched in red, and that means ‘Wor’. A spectacular intro was met with a driving and jumpy guitar riff and rumbling drums, with slow moments being bookended by passages of psychedelic twangy guitars. ‘Wor’ was a great ending to the set, although the crowd was left perplexed as full lights were delayed before coming back on which lead to chants for one more tune and a humorous reveal that the show was over and it was time to leave.