Therapy? returned to Dublin as part of their 20th Anniversary Tour and played the entire Troublegum album in full before returning before a second set.
I went to Therapy? on Friday night with my good friend Graham and another bunch of guys from school, etc. who I hadn’t hung out with in a while. For these guys, rock and heavy rock is all there is. The car journey on the way up involved Graham and myself defending Mick Flannery against fellas who fondly recall seeing Therapy? at OzzFest in 2002. Back then I was listening to Mic Christopher, while they had Pantera on their CD players. But it was great to catch up with these guys, and to relive a little of my youth again. That’s what seeing Therapy?’s current show is like. They start off the show playing a first set that is just their 1992 release Troublegum. It’s a fantastic reminder of rock as it once was, and a lot of it is still undoubtedly brilliant. Before the show, we recalled stories of hilarious or absurd school scenes, each one re-establishing a bond from years ago. Hearing ‘Screamager’ and ‘Nowhere’ has the same effect, when you’re a handful of rows from the front, bouncing up and down along with the crowd, you can’t help but feel like you’re part of something special again. Singer Andy Cairns has only improved with age, and is a fantastic frontman, leading proceedings at every turn.
The band took a five minute set break after ‘Brainsaw’ before returning with some newer material. After the show, we went to a nearby pub. As more and more drink was consumed, the conversation became less coherent, and more meandering. The same is true of Therapy?’s second set. There were moments of brilliance (like Ed’s jokes and Dave’s reluctance to sit in the back on the way home), but the first half was so much better. Some of us drank too much afterwards, and spat out ridiculously stories or semi-incomprehensible nonsense, just like Cairns on stage with his juvenile “fuck the government/fuck the police” nonsense. The songs should speak for themselves, ‘Die Like a Motherfucker’, ‘Teethgrinder’, and ‘Stories’ are awesome, but scattered among them were songs that aren’t in the same league as any of the Troublegum tunes.
That said, overall, it was a fantastic gig and a fantastic night. It contained all the joy you remember from those innocent pre-Celtic Tiger times, as well as a chance to reminisce and remember the fun you once had, and actually still can have. If you get the chance to see Troublegum in full, I suggest you take it with both hands. And bring along some old compatriots for the ride.