Upon entering the small venue in 013, the first thing you noticed was the fact that there were chairs, which set the scene for a pleasant and personal show. Andy Cairns, frontman for Therapy?, is treating us to a special acoustic tour as a warm up for the Therapy? Tour later this year. They are currently working on their fourteenth studio album, to be released around the same time as the tour.
Cairns has arranged many a classic Therapy? song to be played on acoustic guitar, and has even written some new short songs just for this show, about how life has been treating him lately. Before or after almost every song, old and new, Cairns treats us to an anecdote from his life; be it from his personal life or professional, or just stories about crazy things he did while on drugs. This creates a wonderful atmosphere, and the venue is often filled with the laughter of an appreciative crowd.
If there were key words for this show, it would have to be ‘audience participation,’ as Cairns is constantly entreating the audience to sing along certain words or phrases, or even whole guitar riffs, as he thinks some of the compositions sound a bit “shiiiiiit” acoustic. The crowd loves it, and sing along every song they know. Even in the unknown songs, there is a wonderful participation with row upon row of feet tapping and hands clapping.
Some songs were written for two guitars and have more backing vocals, so Stevie Firth, that band’s guitar technician, joins Andy on stage for the last couple of numbers. While sometimes missing a note, or slightly messing the rhythm of a song, the overall quality over Cairns’ musicianship was very good, and his energy and charisma on stage were wonderful to watch. There was even a special cd recorded as a souvenir for this tour, which contains many of the tracks that were played live. It has the same robust quality as the live show: not flawless, but very real and extremely entertaining.
Photography: Susanne Maathuis