So Much For The 30 Year Plan, Limelight, Belfast 07/10/22
Finally, Therapy? make their return to Belfast following the two-year on-off rescheduling due to the COVID pandemic playing at a sold-out Limelight.
My original ticket said 26 September 2020. It is going to be worth the wait!
Originally meant to celebrate Therapy?’s 30 year anniversary over the last two years it was renamed 31st and now 32nd anniversary. The band have been in great form recently and this has been one of the rescheduled gigs that I had been looking forward to the most.
Support came from Belfast veteran punks, The Outcasts. Was vaguely aware of them but unlike Stiff Little Fingers and The Undertones I would struggle to know any of their material, but they played a really great set.
With the support finished it was time for the road crew to get the stage ready. While they are doing their work on stage, the sound guys have Pixies in rotation which is setting the mood quite nicely.
Andy, Michael, and Neil come onstage to a hero’s welcome from the Limelight crowd. You can see they are really buzzed to be playing.
Launching straight into Nausea from the 1992 major label debut, Nurse really greats the crowd going. Never thought I would hear this one again from the early days of seeing the band.
Next up is Stories from Infernal Love which to be honest never got the same love that Troublegum got. But it is a fan favourite. Happy people tell no stories, indeed.
Before we get the next song Kakistorcacy from Cleave, Andy invites the audience to sing along with the main chorus “It’s okay not to be okay” and it is an absolute banger of a song. One of my favourites from the album.
Therapy? are no strangers to dedicating their songs to those that have passed and, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins who Andy speaks very fondly of as he introduces Die Laughing from Troublegum dedicating it to Taylor. Thought that was class.
Between songs, Andy gives us some snippets of where the songs originated from referencing Opal Mantra which he said had its origins from being written in Portrush and it got to number 13 in the UK singles charts. You don’t really get many songs from Portrush making a dent in the charts but it’s a big favourite of mine.
Next up is an introduction to an old song with Andy handing vocal duties over to Michael McKeegan aka the Evil Priest as he launches into the bass-heavy Prison Breaker from the Pleasure Death mini album. It was fantastic to hear this live again.
The next three songs both from Troublegum and Cleave get the crowd rocking – Turn, Callow and Trigger Inside one after the other and before you’ve got your breath back we are invited to make some noise for Church of Noise from Semi-Detached.
Andy introduced the next song and I hope I heard from correctly that this was a new song. To be honest I couldn’t make it out as best as I could but thanks to setlist.fm it is on the setlist as Joy and it made its live debut earlier in the year.
Another absolute banger coming up is Still Hurts from Disquiet and then another two songs that haven’t been played in a while Disgracelands from Nurse and Loose from Infernal Love. Great to hear both of those again.
The first cover of the night is Diane which was originally recorded by Husker Du who has been a huge influence on the band.
Teethgrinder was the first ever Therapy? song I heard which led me to buy my first Therapy? album which was Nurse. Still a favourite for me and it is getting a bit wild down at the front. When I wake up I grind my teeth….Phew! 16 songs in and a chance to grab a breather.
For the encore, the band come back on stage with Andy saying they are going to do a wee ballad like Nothing Else Matters! He’s only joking because we get a savage version of Knives which is the opening track from Troublegum. It hit you like a ton of bricks then, it still does.
Drummer Neil Cooper mentions that there are three things he has never done since he joined the band – drank Harp, drank Guinness or drank Buckfast. It goes to a vote from the audience and we all agree he should try Buckfast.
Another offering from Pleasure Death gets played and it’s fan favourite Potato Junkie whose infamous line James Joyce is fucking my sister has the crowd in delight. Midway through the song, Andy informs us all that it’s Neil Cooper’s birthday. Every gig is a birthday for Mr Cooper and we are encouraged to sing that Neil drums like a motherfucker. Indeed, he does and treats us to a mini drum solo before the band go back into Potato Junkie.
You can’t mistake the opening salvo from Meat Abstract as we get the Blade Runner sample “wake up time to die!”. The mosh pit goes wild.
Joy Division’s Isolation is my favourite cover ever and Therapy? certainly do make the song their own. Michael’s bass lines just go right through you, and it is a definite fan favourite.
Andy talks about their local upbringings, he comes from Ballyclare and Michael comes from Larne. You get a good-natured thumbs down for being from Larne but it is the friendship between both of them that is very touching. Andy a punk rock fan and Michael is more into heavy metal. And with a very good nod to this friendship the band break out into a cover of Judas Priest’s Breaking the Law which funny enough was the b-side to the next song, Nowhere.
The band thank the crowd for their support and love over the last 32 years which is appreciated by all. Screamager is the perfect song to close the night.