Therapy? @ Academy 2
Thirty Six Strategies
Describing themselves as Husker Doo-Wop, as a nod to one of their (Therapy? shared) influences Hüsker Dü, Thirty Six Strategies take the stage. The late 70’s early 80s punk influence is obvious but their sound, as it quickly becomes evident, is their own. In fact the humble quintet win the crowd over quickly with their hardcore, pop punk anthems, vocalist Marie Vockins stirring the crowd with her raspy but bitter-sweet tones. Songs like Treading on Angels are instantly sing-able while Words of Cold Fire is tinged with sadness, dedicated as it is to a lost friend. It’s a good solid display from the Worcester based punkers.
“You love the fuckin’ riffs?” cries Therapy? bassist Michael Mckeegan after tearing through new album opener Still Hurts. The deafening roar that follows signals a resounding yes! Shit-eating grins all round then as the band explode into the Joy Division cover Isolation. When singer/guitarist Any Cairns fixes you with his psychotic gaze there is an intensity that’s unnerving but there’s always an underlying humour resting there and his visage soon breaks into a smile. This twisted and skewed humour has always dwelled within everything Therapy? have ever done and is the key to their greatness.
All but two tracks off new LP Disquiet are aired tonight, showing the faith this Northern Irish three-piece have in their new product and rightly so. The audience though is well prepared and seemingly knows all the tracks as if they’ve been around forever. The fantastically named Vulgar Display of Powder is an immense riff experience live and the punk thrash-around of Torment, Sorrow, Misery, Strife showcases Therapy?’s ability to still write twisted, poppy choruses.
Breakthrough album Troublegum is represented here with Die Laughing (dedicated to Courtney Love and Yoko Ono) and Turn, with Screamager and Knives igniting the pit furiously. A rousing shout-a-long of ‘James Joyce is fucking my sister’, from Potato Junkie sees bassist McKeegan mouthing an apology to a family with their two young kids at the front of the stage. He later jumps down to hand them a setlist and plectrums. Nowhere ends the chaos and seals the night in glorious fashion.
Since 1989 Therapy? have been stabbing people with their twisted, angular punk infused metal, their seemingly disparate influences coming together so that at times they defy strict genre definition. But we metalheads love them! And tonight showcased exactly why. It’s loud, twisted, ferocious and heavy. Nice.
Seek help. Seek Therapy?
Words: Paul ‘Trigger Inside’ Cooke | Photos: Frederick Apps