One of the t-shirts on sale for this tour asks “Where were you in 1994?” Looking at the crowd that borders on capacity tonight, it’s a safe bet that a lot of them were stumbling up the stairs of Nottingham’s Rock City, probably to see Therapy? or someone similar. The Main Hall is a hipster free zone tonight. The crowd is made up of various shades of middle-age, from the graceful to the verging on a little bit disgraceful. They’re all united again tonight for one reason.
It is the ‘Troublegum 20th Anniversary Tour’ and nobody in attendance would deny that this is an album worth giving the full birthday celebration works to. By far Therapy?’s most revered album but one they haven’t for a moment had to live off throughout their career; it’s a standout album from a quality back catalogue.
A good sign that an album is deserving of the played in full treatment is if it’s played in order. There’s a reason why Metallica played ‘Master of Puppets’ to the original track list but had to play their self-titled effort in reverse…
‘Troublegum’ is played in the order that the tracks appear on the back of the album tonight, so after a short taped intro, the massive ‘Knives’ gets things underway. Occupying opposite sides of the stage, Andy and Michael don’t look twenty years older than they did when ‘Troublegum’ was released and the latter certainly still roams the stage like he has all the energy in the world for touring. Andy, of course, is restricted by the microphone with regards to movement but he oozes cool as he works through the reasonably well-worn track list.
He stops to thank the crowd on numerous occasions. Looking round the room, a lot of these folk have been here for most if not all the way with Therapy? It’s a loyal following like this that means the band can carry on touring and releasing albums twenty years after their last MTV appearance.
This maybe a big old anniversary show, but it’s not a quick cash-grab, Therapy? will be back with a new album and tour soon, as they’ve been doing relentlessly over the years.
The band also get more than one introduction from the frontman. We’re told to greet Michael ‘Evil Priest’ McKeegan with the inverted cross sign and drummer Neil has the tag-line “From the East Midlands” added to his name several times too.
When in Nottingham, that’s a safe way of saying that someone is from Derby…
On the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, ‘Die Laughing’ is dedicated to him, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and Tony Benn. Always ones to add a political angle things, ‘Femtex’ is also dedicated to the victims of domestic abuse. This maybe grin-inducing rock but there’s always some dark humour or serious message somewhere in there. The crowd pogo their way through either way.
After the album, the band come back out to play an encore filled with tracks from a similar era. The numerous E.P.’s released around that time had some awesome tracks in there. ‘Speedball’ and ‘Auto Surgery’ go down especially well and a cover of ‘Breaking the Law’ complete with police sirens gets everyone headbanging.
Therapy? successfully take everyone back to 1994 for a couple of hours tonight. A wonderful atmosphere, a happy band and some truly iconic music. Tonight has been about loyal fans rewarded for being just that, and a band beaming just to be able to “Still haul their fat arses onstage twenty years down the line.” A most excellent Saturday night!