Therapy? Sonisphere Festival, Knebworth Park, 5 July 2014.
"I’ve got a problem", barks Andy Cairns at the beginning of tonight’s set; "this infernal love". Therapy? are back at Sonisphere. Four years ago they opted to play the whole of their career peaking ‘Troublegum’ album, and this year they’re doing the same with its follow-up, 1995’s ‘Infernal Love’. You might have a problem Andy, but the crowd couldn’t be more delighted.
Photo: Eamon O'Neill
A twisted hedonistic morose masterpiece, 'Infernal Love' was an album that confounded and divided their fan base upon release, especially those who yearned for the pop sensibilities of its chart bothering predecessor. However, there is no evidence of this tonight, as filled to capacity from the off, people are being turned away from the Saturn Stage tent.
Therapy? have pleasingly opted to play the album all the way through, track for track in the order that it first appeared. Kicking off then with ‘Epilepsy’ there’s an initial burst of energy that explodes both on stage and off. First single ‘Stores’ follows in similar fashion, and sees the crowd singing along to the chorus at full volume. There’s a definite change of mood for the next track which, faithful to the album is proceeded by the haunting David Holmes sample. Moment Of Clarity’ is as dark as it is powerful, and the crowd risie and fall with every punctuating chord change. Next up is the criminally underrated ‘Jude The Obscene’. Earlier bassist Michael McKeegan tells me that he can’t believe that the band has only played ‘it ‘three or four times’. Thankfully, he can add tonight to that tally. It’s followed by the only track on the album that the band have never performed live. Downing his guitar and taking to keyboards for the first time, Andy Cairns croons ‘There’s nothing darker than love that’s gone sour’, in what is surely the most melancholic moment of the festival. ‘Misery’, ‘Bad Mother’ and ‘Me Vs You’ all follow in rapid fire.
The next two songs perhaps best represent the juxtaposition of the album as a whole. First is the upbeat and enteral sunshine of ‘Loose’, a song that Andy tells the crowd that is about ‘getting pissed on Botanic Avenue in Belfast’, to rapturous applause from the healthy number of Irish in the front rows. It’s followed by ‘Diane’ whose subject matter is altogether more sinister; kidnap, rape and murder. It has always been a show-stopping moment in the Therapy? set, and here, complete with mood setting crimson lighting, works to devastating effect.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel however, in the closing ’30 Seconds’. A frenetic finale with mantra-like repeated lines, it’s the perfect note on which to end. Or is it, for we’re granted an unexpected encore in the form of a couple of greatest hits. Say what you will about Therapy? but they sure have a way with words, and the crowd are enraptured as they sing along to the ‘James Joyce is fucking my sister’ refrain of ‘Potato Junkie’. It’s left to ‘Screamager’ to bring the curtain on what has been a phenomenal performance. Happy people have no stories. Don’t go asking any of tonight’s crowd for an anecdote.