Home Gigs Gig Review: Therapy? Make a Church of Noise in the Limelight

Gig Review: Therapy? Make a Church of Noise in the Limelight

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Review by Ivor Whitten for MPM

Friday nights alright for rocking out and tonight was no exception. Metal heroes of metal, Therapy? were coming home along with the long-time punk rockers the Outcasts

Up first was The Outcasts, a four-piece band first founded in 1977 and were not going away quietly. Having been signed by the famous Good Vibrations music label in 1978 and saw radio airplay from the late great John Peel. Tonight, they were playing to a home crowd. And the home crowd were as vociferous and dedicated as any group of fanatical football fans.

As the band made final tune ups, lead vocalist Greg Cowan quipped of Martin Cowan as he fiddled with an amp “This man has been playing for over 40 years and still doesn’t know how to turn on an amp.” A sign to all this was going to be a fun self-depreciatory solid musical set.

Just as they were about to kick off Greg eyeing the crowd stated “All the young people here ask your mum and dad about us. I have trousers older than most of you.”

And then into “1969” which showed a great punk attitude producing powerful lyrical stomping rock that immediately had people dancing and beginning to mosh. Introducing the next song “Self-Conscious Over You” were to unforgettable words “This was our first hit. It was Number One in Albania.” The banter back and forward with the crowd made it feel so much like listening to some of your best friends just jamming out.

“Magnum Force”, “Stay Young” and then “Justa Nother Teenage Rebel” led straight into “Love You for Never”.

The crowd was well and truly warmed up as the raucous devil may care attitude permeated the Limelight with “Gangland Warfare”, “Seven Deadly Sins” and “The Pressure’s On. Greg refused to let the banter with that wonderful Northern Irish sarcastic quick wit that is so loved in this little place in the world he rolled out the lines “Let the young ones have a wee nap first.”

Then came the pumping energy filled “The Cops Are Comin’ as the whole crowd released their inner punk with moshing groups breaking out everywhere before the final song of their set and with the words “This one’s for you, you’ve been absolutely lovely.” They banged out “You’re a Disease.” The crowd went ecstatic cheering like they had won the world cup. The Outcasts may have been making music for over 40 years, they sounded as fresh as they had been playing for four. Professional, tight, full of controlled aggression and energy. No one was disappointed at all.

Next up was the headliners, the one, the only Therapy? and as they walked onto stage, if the crowd had been seated they would now all be on their feet with a standing ovation the welcome was so loud and proud. And you could sense the absolutely jam-packed Limelight was in awe as people of all walks of life and ages were delighted to be in the presence of the band. The band acknowledged this in the best way possible, they had smiles on their faces from ear to ear.

Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan and Neil Cooper found themselves almost being worshipped. And with a “Thank you Belfast, its great to be back” they slammed home with “Nausea”. Anyone who had never heard of Therapy? (and the question raises ‘Why not?’) will never forget the performance they put on to their home audience.

People were immediately singing along, raising their hands in the air, kicking off jumping and moshing like there was no tomorrow. “Stories” had huge roars of approval as the crowd sang their lungs out keeping in time with Andy. He took a short moment to let everyone know the band appreciated the welcome “After three decades, coming back to play in front of all of you on a Friday night.” Raising his hands with a massive grin answered how he and the guys felt. The roar in response showed the crowd felt the same way.

“Kakistocracy” had head banging and moshing galore as every so often enthusiastic clapping followed along.

Andy took a moment then to say “We want to dedicate this next song to someone who we met many times on the road. It was Taylor Hawkins.” Before they dropped into “Die Laughing” and once again the crowd emotionally sang along and replied to any slight encouragement from Andy or Michael.

“This next one reached number 13 in the charts and is currently being played on Top Of The Pops on BBC 4 reruns. Its a song about Portrush.” And with that they played “Opal Mantra” to cheers, roars and a wave of jumping and moshing.

Then came the chugging bass heavy “Prison Breaker”, “Turn” and “Callow” with each and every song received with such enthusiasm there was no one standing still. This was a night to completely rock out and everyone seemed to be making sure they weren’t going to be the one left out.

Then came “Trigger Inside” with the crowd becoming organised mayhem, it is no simple or flippant statement to say the people were just going nuts for Therapy?

Andy took a moment to talk to the audience and say, “We want to dedicate this next one to each and every one of you here in the Limelight” while they began “Church of Noise”. Once more the interaction was perfectly timed as Andy asked “Belfast, do you want some riffage?” the roar back gave him the answer and so they slammed out “No Joy”.

Then there was a wonderful back and forth and Neil was outed as having never tried Guinness, Buckfast or Harp. There was a vote taken and poor Neil was condemned to partake of the mighty Bucky (Buckfast tonic wine for anyone outside of Lurgan) as he celebrates his birthday.

Next was “Still Hurts”, “Disgracelands” and “Loose” before Andy encouraged even more interaction as he said to the crowd, as they waited on bated breath for whatever he was going to say next “We need your helping hands here tonight” and so the insanely loud clapping and singing in reply began as they played a fantastic rendition of Hüsker Dü’s Diane. Then with a quip of “Belfast are you ready?” they slammed home “Teethgrinder” as every so often the “hey hey hey” in time with the drum beat nearly lifted the roof.

Coming near to the close of the evening Andy told the claustrophobically tight crowd “We have been around for three decades now, and you are the reason we continue”. A huge deafening roar of appreciation was the reply.

They finished their incredible set with “Knives” and a wonderfully extended “Potato Junkie” with the crowd chanting “Neil! Neil! Drum like a MotherF***er” over and over. Neils drum solo in the middle had everyone chanting loudly “yeah, yeah, yeah” from the crowd. This was such an interactive show no one was going away not feeling a part of this very special evening.

Then came “Meat Abstract”, Joy Division’s “Isolation”, and with a “Michael lives in a place called Larne and he loves heavy metal” then Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law”. With a “Belfast, we love you!” Andy, Michael and Neil hit home “Nowhere” and the love from the crowd was very palpable. And with that they finished off the night with “Screamager”. The roar of appreciation and love for the three lads was without doubt. Tonight had been a very special experience.

The Outcasts and Therapy? both delivered a top-notch performance that created such a wonderful unique experience this was a night that would long be talked about for years to come. These two bands produced such good humour and music on the night it was just unique. There was just an exhausted mass of bodies exiting the Limelight at the end of the evening, they at least can skip the gym for the next week or so.

If you can get the chance, you will kick yourself if you don’t go and see either band while on stage. Well worth the time and cost to leave the world outside and just let loose all the pent-up energy in a perfectly metal and punk way.

Check out Therapy?’s tour list at https://www.therapyquestionmark.co.uk/ and find out more about the perfect punk rockers The Outcasts at https://www.facebook.com/officialoutcasts/

Photography by MPM

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