Indeed, to be frank, Hawk Eyes look bored to be on stage. Whether it’s a first night of the tour thing, or that the crowd appears indifferent to them, who knows. The fact is though that most of the excitement seems to have gone from their show.
As you might expect from a band that changed its name, the band appear to not be quite sure what they want to be. “Headstrong” is the pick of the set, but it never approaches the levels they managed 11 months ago.
In contrast to see the seemingly restless support band, Therapy? Have always known exactly what they wanted to be, and it wasn’t famous. Their Wiki page says they have sold 2 million records, but it doesn’t say that most of these were in the 90s, with the “Troublegum” “Nurse” and “Infernal Love” records they were frequently in the singles charts and frequently in the magazines. The trouble with this was simple. Andy Cairns and his mates had artier ambitions; they simply wanted to play the music they liked. And, for most of the 21st century, that’s exactly what they have done.
Happily, although the limelight has dimmed, the fans remain onside and the Academy 2 is near full when the band almost sheepishly make their way onstage. Dressed in suits, they look for all the world like the cast of “Reservoir Dogs” when a cover of Joy Dvision’s “Isolation” kicks things off.
The early curfew means a slightly shorter set, but no one can feel shortchanged as over 20 songs are fired out in a 90-minute concert. New album “A Brief Crack Of Light” is well represented with its brooding opener “Living In The Shadow Of A Terrible Thing” perhaps the closest thing they have to their 90s sound.
They have lost none of their mischievous nature, either. “Die Laughing” is dedicated to the recently deceased Clive Dunn and “Before You, With You, After You” beginning with a snippet of “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.”
Along with the batch of new songs there is plenty of looking back, too. “Stop It Your Killing Me” “Teethgrinder” and “Stories” sound as fresh as ever despite being almost 20 years old.
Suits are gone for the encore and the classics are out. “Screamager” and “Nowhere” mix alongside a cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Potato Junkie” finishes things, surely the only song in history to feature “James Joyce is fucking my sister” as its key line. And guess what? That’s the line Therapy choose to make a sing-a-long out of. What else should you expect from a band that appeared on Top of the Pops with a single that began with the couplet “let me try on your dress/it turns me on when we’re a mess. “?
They don’t play that song – “Loose” - tonight, but what they did play was excellent. Truly reinvigorated Therapy? Are a band that haven’t sounded this good in years. Being a deliberate cult band never sounded so much fun.