On an icy cold December night in Cardiff, the truly legendary Therapy? returned after eight years to play to a full-house at The Globe. Supported by fellow Northern Ireland group LaFaro and Hawk Eyes. One thing I have noticed over the years is the increase of the price of merchandise at gigs, forty pounds for a hoody seems alarmingly steep, whilst coughing up twenty five gold pieces for a long-sleeve T-Shirt is a hell of a lot after paying for fuel and a ticket. However, this is probably a result of illegal downloading and something that is increasingly the norm. Openers LaFaro play a short set that goes down very well with the locals. Most notably, guitarist Dave has an impressive style on guitar that sounds fantastic in such an intimate setting. Leeds based quartet Hawk Eyes have been receiving rave reviews of late, for their cracking record ‘Ideas’ and also quite rightly for their energetic live performances. They comfortably fill their thirty minute slot and set (little) tongues wagging in the crowd once they exit stage left.
And like the true professionals they are the ‘Norn Iron’ trio take to the stage on time to the sound of one of the best songs from their latest record ‘Marlow’. Cairns wastes no time in breaking out with the one-two crowd-pleasers ‘Stories’ and ‘Isolation’. The band play with huge grins on their faces the whole way through their one hour forty minute set, it is great to see. Also, some old lesser aired classics like the mind-blowing brilliance of ‘Misery’ and ‘Bad Mother’ from the groups 1995 album ‘Infernal Love’, an album that has received some negative criticism, (rather unfairly in our honest opinion). Cairns is ever the perfect front-man he warmly jokes with fans and shakes their hands – always nice to see that someone who has been doing this for so long has not forgotten how important the fans are to him. A special mention must be made for the breath-taking drumming of Neil Cooper, he performs some really wonderful and complex rhythms with relative ease, and puts his own stamp on classics such as ‘Teethgrinder’, ‘Turn’ and ‘Unbeliever’. The dark and menacing lurk of ‘Get Your Dead hand Off My Shoulder’ is a slow-burner on record and seems to go down well live. This is quickly followed by a band version of Hüsker Dü’s ‘Diane’, however I preferred the distorted cello version, which can be found on the B-side to ‘Lonely, Cryin’, Only’, well worth digging for. Other highlights include the superb ‘Meat Abstract’ ‘Stop It You’re Killing Me’ and closer ‘Potato Junkie’. All in all a successful return to the Welsh capital for the guys after an eight year absence. Cairns promises that they won’t leave it as long until they return again, let’s hope not.
* All images Gerry Gilroy