Therapy? – Exeter Phoenix (20th November 2018)

On a miserable, wet Wednesday in the heart of a dank and dreary Devon, where temperatures are plummeting and as well as ice-cool blasts of stinging, shrapnel showers, Northern Irish thrash metal veterans Therapy? roll into town and deliver a rollicking show for a packed crowd at the superlative Exeter Phoenix venue.

Support is provided by formidable Cornish four-piece King Creature. Formed in 2013 and with history of opening for Megadeth and Motörhead, their music is a thunderous blend of hard rock and metal with powerful, Brent Hindsy vocals, sophisticated guitar shredding solos and ear-blistering intensity from the rhythm section. Their 2nd song ‘Lowlife’ is an early anthemic highlight of the evening and they deliver a tight 30-minute set which builds to a galloping, bone-rattling finale.

When Therapy? hit the stage they take a little time to match the sheer raw power of the opening act but ultimately they prescribe a fun-filled evening packed with great songs, endless energy and oodles of love and admiration for the paying audience. Frontman Andy Cairns is sporting a jet black Mohican and matching goatee and is a tad higher pitched than of yore with a hint of Mrs Brown’s Boys but is a brilliant tour guide for the night. They play a good cross-section of tracks from their 28 year recording history with songs such as ‘Dianne’ from ‘Infernal Love’, ‘Die Laughing’ and ‘Screamager’ from their 1994 breakthrough ‘Troublegum’ and industrial-tinged ‘Teethgrinder’ from their major label debut ‘Nurse’. They also devote time to promote songs off their latest album ‘Cleave’, which is their first album for Marshall Amplifiers’ new record label. From it they perform lead single ‘Callow’ and they also film ‘Kakistocracry’ live for Instagram, which is altogether more politically charged and features the sing along refrain “It’s OK not to be OK”.

In the midst of their generous setlist they play a lengthy version of early fan favourite ‘Potato Junkie’ which features the refrain “James Joyce is dating my sister”. They intersperse it with riffage from Slayer’s Reign In Blood as well as glowing tributes to Donald Trump and the British Government. “For Donald Trump. For Donald Trump’” Or at least that’s what I made out. Potentially could have been some other variation of another word beginning with ‘f’. They give a lengthy solo spot to drummer Neil Cooper who is an absolute powerhouse. A member of the band since 2002, it’s also coincidentally his birthday and the other two original members of the band gladly invite the crowd to join the band afterwards for a night out on the town in order for him to get royally wrecked. All in all they serve a fulsome 90 minute set with extra long encore and leave every member of the audience buzzing.

‘Cleave’ by Therapy? is available on Marshall Records now.