Review - Therapy? warm up for Stranglers gigs with sell out Milton Keynes show
Therapy? returned to Milton Keynes for their first club gig in the town for about two decades this week ahead of heading out on tour with the Stranglers.
Having previously played the Pitz back in the day and Ozzfest at the National Bowl in 1998, the Northern Irish trio were in somewhat familiar surroundings having previously recorded in the region.
Monday was a glorious race through some of their best and biggest hits while also teasing material form their forthcoming LP.
Fronted by guitarist Andy Cairns, Therapy? seemed genuinely happy to be spending their Monday night at a sold out Craufurd Arms in front of a few hundred fans.
By comparison, in recent years, the trio have been celebrating iconic albums from the 1990s on significantly larger stages.
During their career, the band has effortlessly transcended genres from their punkier roots, expertly produced rock and hook laden alternative.
After opening with Stop It You're Killing Me from Troublegum, Therapy? raced straight into Still Hurts before returning to the mid-1990s for Die Laughing.
Bassist Michael McKeegan was content smiling blur throughout while Cairns was on chatty form all night.
Between songs there were stories about getting clean, moving to the coast but accidentally finding it was the heroin capital of the country, Andy’s self-proclaimed "Eamonn Holmes years" of "excess eating", early hour conversations at petrol stations and song writing powered by Rice Krispie squares.
However, around fun interludes where incredible songs, showing a band that has perfected the ability to craft a four minute 'radio friendly' rock, yet also take things in a heavier and darker direction with the likes of Deathstimate and still show their punkier edge with the likes of Teethgrinder.
Following a cover of Joy Division's Isolation, McKeegan, drummer Neil Cooper and live guitarist Stevie Firth, left Cairns for a magnificent cover of Hüsker Dü's Diane, with Andy opting for the string laden version of the track rather than the original alt rock version they frequently play.
The encore saw Therapy? debut new track Callow with the expletive laden Potato Junkie following before closing with the iconic Screamager.
Twenty five years into their career, Therapy? remain one of Northern Ireland's greatest exports.
The only slight dampener of the night was seeing a band giving it their all onstage to a pretty flat audience.
When it was announced, tickets for this gig sold out within 24 hours, yet a significant proportion of the Craufurd crowd seemed reluctant to do little more than nod along.
Maybe trying to motivate a bunch of late 30 and early 40 somethings on a Monday night isn't as simple as it sounds, even when armed with as many iconic tracks as Therapy? have at their disposal.
Stop It You're Killing Me
If It Kills Me
Church of Noise
Lonely, Cryin', Only
Isolation (Joy Division cover)
Diane (Hüsker Dü cover)