Andy Cairns

Andy Cairns

A chance to see Therapy? frontman Andy Cairns play some of the band’s songs pared down and a little more genteel.

Date: May 24, 2013

Venue: Bodega

“The riff to this sounds better if you sing it”, promises Andy Cairns to his audience, as he gives them the task of creating the famous riff to his band’s breakthrough song, Screamager. And they duly oblige with triumphant “na na na”‘s replacing that towering guitar.

Of course, if this was Therapy?, the hard-rocking, genre-defying Northern Irish legends, that riff wouldn’t need any support. But this is frontman Andy Cairns on his own. It’s just him and his guitar, stripping back a large chunk of his band’s back catalogue and allowing the subtle nuances and intricacies of each song to roam free.

Die Laughing is first up, a power house of a song even without the frazzle of electricity. Church of Noise is delivered with a devilish fervour, the crowd singing the word “noise” like the gig depends on it.

He thunders through choice cuts from the band’s arsenal, and drops in a couple of his solo efforts, too, of which the jaunty Self Help Books is the highlight.

He also continuously interacts with the packed floor. His deference via his thick County Antrim brogue is refreshing. His engagement includes tales behind the tracks, including how the title of Screamager was born in Nottingham (a former band member was watching the Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party after a gig at Rock City when he described the screaming teenagers as “screamagers”. The term became the title of a song that they hitherto had no title for…) and there’s an interesting and humorous story of Peter Gabriel’s manhood prior to his cover of Husker Du’s Diane. These entertaining interludes marry well with the songs, and provide a jovial atmosphere.

Therepy? drummer Neil Cooper joins him for the final few numbers, and despite a bungled Misfits cover (Where Eagles Dare) in the encore, and going over the curfew by half an hour, no one minds.

Acoustic or electric, Mr Cairns rocks.

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