Last weekend marked the first anniversary of the release of Therapy’s latest studio album Cleave.

This being an album which saw the trio rejoin forces with producer Chris Sheldon (Troublegum and Semi-Detached) for one of their best long players since the 90s. The album was recorded at Blast Studios in Newcastle, a mere stone throw away from this evening’s venue and one of the city’s favourite watering holes – The Cluny.

Tonight’s intimate show in the Ouseburn Valley is a complete sellout. This also being Therapy’s last club show of 2019 and tonight the band intend to go out with a bang.

The sounds of Mrs Doyle from Father Ted ushers the trio onto the stage, as they kick things off with an apt rendition of Die Laughing. It may well be a school tonight but the Geordie faithful are up for the occasion. Andy Cairns declaring ‘On a Tuesday night – Newcastle you mad bastards’. Tonight the band’s fans need little to no encouragement.

Now with 15 albums behind them, the show represents one of the strongest setlists possible. The group delving back to their formative years with a healthy dose of Nurse and Troublegum included in the set.

Like a rocket from the 90s, the show is certainly nostalgic at times, but in a good way. Most of the crowd turn back the clocks 25 years. When performed live this music is like an elixir of youth and makes you forget both your age and woes for a short while.

Tracks like Turn, Nausea, Trigger Inside, Opal Mantra and Teethgrinder has the crowd pogoing to their heart’s content. And bass player Michael McKeegan acts like a metronome that keeps the crowd jumping in time with the song. He is often found right up in front of the stage whilst simultaneously orchestrating the madness.

The political undertone of the show sees Andy Cairns makes his feelings known about both Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, during what has been a turbulent week in the UK. Michael McKeegan even has a Fuck Brexit sticker plastered across the underside his bass.

The beauty of the band’s classic material is that it sits seamlessly side by side to songs from Cleave. New favourites, in particular, include Wreck It Like Beckett, Kakistocracy and the first single from the album – Callow.

But it’s the Troublegum era material that sets things off. Therapy’s take on Joy Division’s Isolation is a crowd-pleaser for sure and has the fans propelling themselves towards the stage whilst singing along to every word. And of course, the main set closer Nowhere is a perfect conclusion. This being a sentiment that the crowd relate too wholeheartedly as they are left wanting more.

With a career dating back to 1990, next year will see the three-piece celebrate their landmark 30th anniversary. We are told that the band have some surprises up their sleeves next year to mark the occasion – all will be revealed in due course. And of course, for the old school Therapy fans in attendance tracks like Meat Abstract still sound fresh almost thirty years after the release of Babyteeth.

A five-song encore that features an anthemic rendition of Screamager brings Therapy’s career-spanning set to a close.

Of course, Therapy has performed to hundreds of thousands of fans all over the world, but to see them in an up-close and personal, and somewhat sweaty setting as this is truly special indeed. Tonight’s show is one of the best nights this writer has witnessed at The Cluny in many years.


Event Date: 24-Sept-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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