Engine Rooms, Southampton


It’s Saturday night and the 3rd night of Therapy’s “Infernal Love Tour”. We arrive just in time to catch tour support, none other than John Robb’s “The Membranes”. John is in his usual energetic mode, trying hard to encourage this sparse crowd to move forward (there’s barely a 100 in the room at this point)! A few step forward. Immediately we are pummelled by the sheer volume and wall of noise. A largely “Universe-inspired” set opens unsurprisingly with “Universe Explodes”, followed by “Do The Supernova” which is an early highlight. John (Robb’s) throbbing bass is an ever present staple tonight, as is his vocal. Intricate chords and drumming to match complete the overall dark feel to the set. In fact on “Dark Energy” I’m reminded of Public Image Limited and early Killing Joke, such is the relentless power of the song.

John doesn’t manage to keep still all night, using every tiny inch of the space they’ve been afforded. However, he is not shy in encouraging interaction with us all, opting to jump down into the photographers pit to get up close and personal with us. After “Space Junk” he invites “universe related” questions from the audience. He answers eloquently and knowledgeably before launching into “Hum of The Universe”, which gains the first sing-along of the night. They end confidently with “Myths and Legends” and garner decent applause. The Membranes are a marmite band – if you like your “Post/Punk” dark then this band are for you.

The Membranes
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And so to the headliners. Two years on from their legendary “Troublegum Tour” at this very venue they return, this time for Infernal Love. The crowd has swelled somewhat but clearly they are competing with 5 other notable gigs in the area on the same night. They open naturally with the legendary “Epilepsy”, and leave no stone unturned with the sheer power of delivery. Andy (Cairns) looks happy and regularly swaps banter with us throughout the evening. Michael (McKeegan) to his right is also smiling – we are in for a great night! Neil (drums) however is hitting the skins with a ferocity we have now become accustomed to at a Therapy show. The crowd reaction tonight is one more of appreciation, rather than all out mayhem from days of old. Heads nod and there’s minimal movement, but I guess we’re all that much older. “A Moment of Clarity” and “Bowels of Love” invoke huge emotion in Andy’s delivery, while “Bad Mother” gives him a chance to recount a humorous story of a visit back home to see his Mother. “Loose” is phrenetic and played at lightning speed, while “Diane” is given a whole new style of delivery with Andy and Michael “harmonising” over a sample. They end unsurprisingly with “30 Seconds” with Andy really reaching to hold the notes to the very end. And that is the LP done. The band take a short break before returning to perform the classics.

Andy returns and explains they’ll do some songs old and new, starting with the brilliant “Still Hurts”. “Die Laughing” gets a few punters moving and the first big sing along while the haunting “Deathstimate” takes us back down. “Unbeliever” precedes “Tides” whereupon Andy makes a plea for sales of the CD to pay for his pet dog Snoopy, who needs his broken leg repaired. (I can confirm they sold every copy)! When they launch into “Teethgrinder” there’s noticeably more movement in the crowd before we all sing along to “Potato Junkie”. Mid-song they ad-lib a fast and furious edit even this reviewer didn’t recognise, before returning for the now legendary chorus with Andy bellowing “louder, louder” – we duly oblige! They save the 3 best songs ’til last. “Screamager” gets us moving before a ferocious “Knives” where again we sing in unison. They leave us with “Going Nowhere” with a promise to return with new material, and on this reflection who are we to argue.

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Too many bands in this genre are happy to just repeat and re-tread, whereas Therapy continue to evolve and push boundaries. The band, despite 26 years in the business; show no signs of ageing, looking fitter than ever. For as long as their army of dedicated fans continue to attend shows, this band, I feel are here for the long-haul. Long may that continue and tonight was another wonderful trip down memory lane, and what a memory!

A Moment of Clarity
Jude the Obscene
Bowels of Love
Bad Mother
Me Vs You
Diane (Husker Du cover)
30 Seconds

Still Hurts
Die Laughing
Potato Junkie

The Membranes
Universe Explodes
Do the Supernova
Dark Energy
In The Graveyard
Space Junk
Hum of the Universe
Myths and Legends



Words by Ross A. “Third Wave of Reviewers” Ferrone
Pictures by Jon “Long Way Round” Musselwhite
Videos by Dave “Route Master” Chinery (Chinners)

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