I'm still trying to get to grips with the Rico CD, so was hoping that live it may inspire me more. Did it? Nah, not really. They only do about 25-30 minutes, which in a way isn't enough. They start with that "fuck" song, which is I guess a way to get people on your side given the lyrics, but it's not very interesting. The band have lined up so that it appears disconnected from the crowd and maybe in a way focussing all attention on Rico himself. The drummer is obviously looking at him, as all drummers have to look at the frontman, but the guitarist and bassist are set up to look centre stage, staring at each other from across the stage. Of course in the middle of all this is Rico. Maybe it's different, but well, didn't work for me. The man himself does the suitable disturbed anguish routine, and it takes a while for everything to build up. Indeed it's not until Shave Your Head that there's any real momentum as far as I'm concerned. If it's all genuine (and yeah, I know, who am I to QUESTION anything about bands, I should have the nerve) then I can see a lot of people "understanding" this. Me, I still think it's a bit of a poor man's NIN. But I never understood NIN, and as I've been told, I know nothing. But for me, it's still not working.
Therapy? bound on to the stage and it's almost a mish mash of thoughts and contradictions. One is that it's a band refreshed, at ease with itself. Andy Cairns is doing the let it go rock star kind of thing, looking slightly unkempt. At ease with himself. Yet at times, his singing isn't as good and clear as it has been. It's noticeable on the older material, such as Stories and Die Laughing. Maybe he's been partying too much today. But, it's a contradiction, cos he looks as if he's loving it. "Come on Nottingham, let's have ya" he cries a lot. There's a grin, and it all looks completely genuine. It's helped by the fact that the crowd, although not as many as the band deserves, respond with a pogoing frenzy. Michael noticeably looks up and points at everything to either Graham on drums or someone on the side of the stage. A look of glee in his face, as he bounces from side to side of the stage, and cries "excellent" between nearly every song. It's good to have Therapy? back. They're not really operating in the same league, but really they piss all over many of the American pop punk bands that are so beloved of all "the kids".
The focus tonight is on Troublegum and Suicide pact, as Michael explains what he's going to be doing on New Years Eve. Let's say it involves Be-witched (or however it's spelt - yeah, nice covering there Dave thanks, and the Vengaboys and a gun. Teethgrinder obviously gets a massive reception, shame it's the only track from Nurse, but the problem Therapy? have is they have so much great material. The set tonight is 90 minutes, and it flies by, something many bands these days simply can't achieve, as much as I may like those other bands. But still there are omissions. Church of Noise sees a mass singalong, topped only by the encores where the band play both Knives and Screamager with no vocals at all, it's left to everyone to provide that, and it's done so admirably.
Demonstrating the ease at which they're at with each other, Andy and Martin have a guitar duel that leads into the cover of Breaking The Law which segues effortlessly into Nowhere. New tracks such as Sister and He's Not That Kind of Girl are slipped in and gain just as big a reception. Six Mile Water is perhaps the most poignant thing they've done, and before Ten Year Plan they extol the virtues of the UK music scene, explaing the sound they hear whenever they play London, as Andy swallows the microphone. Apparently it's UK bands sucking the cock of the industry. "We're over our embarassing commercial phase now, and we're just intent on sticking around making great rock'n'roll music" is the cry. I hope it's right. In a way they may not be as cutting edge as they once were, but they still make great music and put on a great gig. I hope they continue, and I hope that they maybe really do please themselves and follow things down a slightly more noise experimental vein. Because Therapy? are simply a great band that always manage to put a grin on my face. Diane is played more straight, personally I preferred the poingnancy of the version they did on Infernal Love, but it's maybe more in keeping with the rock'n'roll they're doing now. Unfortunately there's still no Punishment Kiss or Animal Bones - I'd so love them to play those again, but like I said, they've got so much great stuff. So it's be content with the finale of Potato Junkie, and time to leave for the cold night air with a suitable grin adorned to the face.