The Academy 2 (formerly the Debating Hall) in Manchester has been the scene of many of my favourite shows over the years, and even before setting foot in there tonight, I knew that this show would end up right up there with the best of them.

Opening on this tour is Lonely The Brave, a modern rock band with modern rock tunes, featuring the obligatory ‘big’ choruses like Biffy Clyro or Foo Fighters. According to the likes of NME and Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, big things are expected for this band once their debut lands in the summer, and if the album sounds like this, then they have every chance of fulfilling such claims. They seemed to go down well with most of the crowd and from things I have read, at other shows as well. A name worth looking out for over the coming months.

There was one main reason everyone was here of course, and they didn’t have to wait to long for Therapy? to arrive onstage to Krusher Joule’s introduction from Donington. “Please welcome three Irish bastards who are the main reason I have had to give up drinking” and they then proceeded to rattle the ‘Troublegum’ in its entirety in what seemed like no time at all. The bands were on top form and loving every minute of it, and the crowd even more so.

With Andy Cairns paying tribute to Manchester, reminding everyone of his love of Buzzcocks and Joy Division before their cover of the latter’s ‘Isolation’ and Michael McKeegan (or Evil Priest as the crowd were instructed to call him) spending the majority of the gig bouncing around, it was just like good old days “when Top Of The Pops allowed fat Irishmen with beards on the show” (Andy’s words).

The encore for these special shows consists of the other tracks from the ‘Shortsharpshock’, ‘Face The Strange’ and ‘Opal Mantra’ EPs. These tracks were the icing on the cake for everyone here, as the band tore through another 13 tracks before leaving the crowd hopeful for more. The band even threw in a bit of The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog’ into ‘Potato Junkie’ before closing out with the classic ‘Teethgrinder’.

The whole night seemed to be over far too quick, even with a 27 track set from the headliners. Too many highlights to mention and good to see the venue absolutely packed. A very special atmosphere for an awesome show.

Therapy? setlist:

Knives – Screamager – Hellbelly – Stop It You’re Killing Me – Nowhere – Die Laughing – Unbeliever – Trigger Inside – Lunacy Booth – Isolation – Turn – Femtex – Unrequited – Brainsaw – Evil Elvis – Tatty Seaside Town – Auto Surgery – Neck Freak – Pantopon Rose – Totally Random Man – Speedball – Bloody Blue – Accelerator – Opal Mantra – Breaking The Law – Potato Junkie – Teethgrinder

Therapy? – Official Website

Lonely The Brave – Official Website