ANDY CAIRNS : London Borderline 23 September 2014
After twenty five years, Andy Cairns, the voice of Therapy? goes on his own in a short acoustic tour inbetween band activity, armed with three guitars, a CD, and some stories. Having sold roughly twice the number of tickets he did last time he played here, The Borderline is a definitive Soho basement with support from VerseChorusVerse. Therapy? Surprise me. They should've been, and stayed huge, but it wasn't their fate.Instead Andy Cairns, the bands ringleader, is armed with an acoustic presenting songs new and old – but mostly old – for us. There is just one Therapys? Song from the post 1998 era, and that's the first one. After that it's an “Acoustic Greatest Hits”, punctuated by the rarity : “Shitkicker” was last played live in 1990, for example.
Aside from the one-man-and-his-guitar format, which allows for no shortage of improvisation, off the cuff noddling, and less than rigid moments ; there's no sense that the next costume change will take 1.54 and has been timed as such – Cairns shows a rich seam of strong songwriting that cuts to the heart of what it is to be him, and what it is to live in this world, in the now, and songs about – whether intended or not – the human journey through life day by day, inch by inch, mile by mile. This is the fate : and I'm considering that, had he lived, Kurt Cobain would have followed a similar path, of an inevitable artistic evolution, by steps over years, and that any of these songs are more than the match of anything on “Nevermind” or “In Utereo”. It's a comparison I can't help but make, as both bands roughly rose at the same time, both followed the rock trio format, and both played the same kind of venues and path, to a point. One self-destructed on the way to the Moon. The other to achieve Earth orbit.
He takes requests, and, above all things, does not need to cover the weakness in songwriting with bluster and noise, for there is no weakness, for these songs probably exist as they are, as they were born, on a guitar and a voice, hewn from fragments of memory, and feeling, and even whilst the lyrics to some songs may not necessarily exist in a narrative sense, that is, the words kind of don't copletely fit together, that each song somehow could be a series of short vignettes, of lyrical truths, all making an abstract whole, alongside the undoubted melodic powers that Cairns, and Therapy have. Aided on occasion by his support act, Therapy? Roadie Steve, and for a couple of songs Chris McCormack from Three Colours Red, Cairns provides a 90 minute whistlestop tour through his songs and one of the most under-rated back catalogues in rock.
Living in the Shadow of the Terrible Thing
Our Love Must Die
A Moment Of Clarity
Jude the Obscene
Lonely, Cryin', Only
Stop It You're Killing Me