As I scale the steps leading into Manchester’s Gorilla, I am met with a wall of black clad backs and as I peer over the shoulders of the gathered masses, it’s clear to see that there isn’t an inch to be had between the throng of the anticipatory and eager crowd. Tonight’s gig has been billed as ‘nearly sold out’ in every media outlet I have set my eyes on, although on the sight that lies before me, I find it hard to believe that it isn’t completely sold out.

Therapy ? was my first ever gig, way back in 95 @ the Town and Country in Leeds, with support from Skunk Anansie, so I was keen to grab another slice of this Irish Rock and Roll juggernaut, and even keener to make it my 15th time of catching the Therapy ? lads again.

As the lights fade away, the crowd intensified with their baying, and figures can be seen striding onto stage before the opening chords of ‘Wreck It Like Beckett’ kicks in. The sound from where I was positioned was a little flat and muddy, with Andy’s vocals not having the usual power or venom that they’re normally spat out with. Things don’t get much better through ‘Expelled’ and it’s only when the opening chords of ‘Die Laughing’ are expelled do the crowd come to life, and it’s clear to see that as much as later tracks hold a special place for Therapy? fans, it’s the older gems which people get really passionate over.

Michael is his usual bouncing self and there isn’t a minute of the set where he is motionless. This is contrasted with Cairns who strikes a solid pose at the other end of the stage, occasionally striding over to Mckeegan to ‘check in’ and then back again.

The set is accented with real gems tonight, such as the cover of Husker Du’s cover of ‘Diane’, which after a small dedication to the late Grant Hart, is expelled as a heavy rock version, far removed from the sultry and moody version we know and love from ‘Infernal Love’. Another unexpected highlight is the dipping of the toe into the classic Slayer anthem ‘Raining Blood’, and an admirable effort was made with the rendition. Classics are also on show tonight in the guise of ‘Stories’, ‘Nowhere’, ‘Knives’, and an absolutely mesmerising ‘Teethgrinder’.

They must have been suffering tonight though, from a massive dose of photophobia, as for some reason the stage was in darkness the whole set, bar some revolving spotlights focused on the crowd, occasionally catching Cairns or Mckeegan in their rotation. This definitely detracted away from some of the stage presence and impact the band usually command the room with

Therapy ? tonight were initially out of character, getting out of the blocks slowly and not delivering with the venom and ferocity that they are renowned for. But once the sound desk had sorted out the sound, they settled into their stride and absolutely destroyed the Gorilla tonight, with every single soul leaving soaked through with battle scarred souls and sweat drenched shirts hanging from their backs. It’s been a pleasure …………………… until we meet again

Review and Photos Phil Pountney