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Therapy? - October 15, 2009 - Thekla, Bristol, UK

By: Tom Findlay

It’s a bar, diner, venue AND a boat. Yes that's right, Thekla in Bristol is an out-of-use boat moored on the side of the river on in the city centre. But was it the boat that rocked? On a clear and brisk autumn day in the Southwest's biggest city, and with a certain band from Belfast returning here after 17 years - we can safely say it did.

The first band on, Left Hand Brain gave it some welly and then some, and provided a suitably well charged jump cable to proceedings and the at first unfamiliar crowd warmed very quickly. Loud rock tunes, big, loud and bold with out any over the top antics – this band were just energy and a passion for music.

Introduced as a good friend of Andy Cairns, front man of Therapy?, Ricky Warwick was a solo act. Just sideburns, tattoos and acoustic blues. The man holds the stage well and with overflowing confidence and not to mention some charming numbers. A fascinating cover of “Ace of Spades” was thrown in as well.

Now to Therapy? Opening with “Turn” followed by “Isolation” kicked things off with a rapturous bout of approval and crowd pleasing. Water, water everywhere – literally! Soon the freshwater of the river outside was joined by the mass condensation forming on the cool metal hull of the ship as the ambient sweat from the energetic gig met the cold metallic husk.

The setlist was varied and stretched all the way back to the Toothgrinder days and reached right up to the new album Crooked Timber. A fantastic sing along to the lyric “James Joyce is fucking my sister,” from the song “Potato Junkie” involved massive enrolment to the chant and was a highlight of the show.

Either playing a genuinely short set or putting on a half-arsed encore, the band told us there was still 20 minutes of stage time left and emerged to play three more cuts off the classic Troublegum (1994). Hearing “Die Laughing” and “Nowhere” was a real treat and was a reminder of what a great band these guys really are. Go see them now while they are still hot!


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