ROCK / Who needs a night of Therapy?: Joseph Gallivan on Therapy? at the Grand Theatre in Clapham, south London

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The Independent Culture
If rock music is caught in a rut, and Nirvana's new clothes are in fact transparent steals from old heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath, then who needs Belfast's Therapy?, another screaming power trio? Well, the hoards packed into the Grand do for a start. MTV also came along to point a camera at some new talent for their 120 Minutes programme, and Therapy? were magnificently obliging.

The intro to 'Pavement Kiss' was re-styled as a finale - all three blasting away on their instruments, seemingly oblivious of each other, until they came to a crisp, sudden stop - which brought a roar of approval from the house. This was immediately drowned by the siren scream of lead singer Andy Cairns' guitar and the bass rumble that bouncing Michael McKeegan kept up all night.

Therapy? (the question mark is there for pure irritation) certainly enjoy the benefits of being a trio. Both frontmen had room to hop about like madmen, having opted for radio-linked guitars rather than ones with leads; the minimal sound came across as more primal at earsplitting volume than many a larger group; and the drummer sang.

Having to strain his lips towards the microphone while his limbs thrashed about in all directions pummelling his drum kit meant that young Fyfe came up with an urgent, gasping sound exactly right for songs like 'Skinning Pit' and the exhilarating 'Meat Abstract'. For this track, with its Adam Ant-type yell and tribal drums, half the room started to pogo wildly. Even the goons perched on the edge of the stage who are employed to control the endless stream of stage-divers picked up on the excitement, and performed their task with renewed vigour, tossing bodies into the maelstrom with extra special exuberance.

They're not subtle, as the lyrics to their celebrated 'Potato Junkie' attest ('I'm bitter, I'm twisted / James Joyce is fucking my sister,' screams Cairns), but then who needs subtlety at a hardcore gig? Cairns substitutes 'Bob Mould' for Joyce in one verse, the reference to the lead singer of Husker Du just letting us know to which band they owe a stylistic debt, but Therapy? pull away from comparisons by the sheer energy of their act. They encore with 'Skyward', which broods menacingly the way heavy rock should, then gleefully smash their guitars to smithereens. Rock and roll.