Date: April 2nd, 2014
Venue: Trinity Centre, Bristol
Support: Lonely The Brave
In 2014, it’s difficult to remain relevant as a band of the early 90s. Metallica have taken a route towards odd dad rock, Manic Street Preachers are still clubbing along somewhere, and Northern Ireland’s Therapy? are combating obscurity by touring their 1994 hit album, ‘Troublegum’. The Trinity Centre is a grand setting that isn’t used often for rock concerts, so it’s even more impressive that the gig tonight is sold out.
There’s only one support, but when Lonely The Brave (*****) bring their catchy Biffy Clyro stylings to the stage, it’s all that’s needed. LTB have a vibe about them that vastly exceeds their years and, with only a sole EP to their name and a soon-to-be-released debut album, it’s highly impressive how fast LTB‘s popularity is expanding. It’s an odd stage setup that sees shy frontman David Jakes near the back of the stage next to drummer Gavin Edgeley. Looking very similar to Johnny Knoxville, he’s certainly no Jackass when he unleashes his superb singing voice into the audiosphere. It’s up to guitarist Mark Trotter to take centre stage and communicate with the crowd, who give many who-are-these-young-oiks looks throughout. Little do the bewildered audience know that they have witnessed the next great British rock band.
Thanks to the retro nature of the gig tonight, the audience is awash with faded tour t-shirts from 1991 Metallica tours and greying beards from fans that boast to have been there during the original ‘Troublegum’ tour back in 1994. Therapy? (***) certainly still have the appeal, but it’s debatable whether they’ve gained any new support during the last 20 years. ‘Troublegum’ is played in its entirety, but not in the original order (“you can do that at home on your stereo” states lead singer, Andy Cairns). Interspersed with the band’s best known material are other recordings from that era, including cuts from 1993’s ‘Shortsharpshock’ and ‘Face The Strange’ EPs. This is pretty much the only setting where any of these songs are even mildly relevant, but they appear to go down well.
Cairns‘ wild eyes are constantly challenge the audience (like this), appearing slightly unnerving at times but carrying his token Northern Irish charm throughout. Michael McKeegan is the other surviving ‘Troublegum’ member on bass, now with even less hair than ever, but he appears to be enjoying cutting the shit and playing songs that the fans want to hear. There are no new age solo EPs or ‘new directions’ here, just plain old no bullshit rock music.
Therapy? will ride the wave of a ‘Troublegum’ revival for a little longer, but there’s going to come a point where they’ll have to either become relevant in the 21st century or fade into obscurity. It’s a shame, but there are increasingly few places in the musical climate of 2014 for rock bands that just want to give a good time.
Written by MG Savage (@MGsavagewriter)