Live Review: The Stranglers & Therapy Belfast Ulster Hall 6th April 2018
As the show got under way, Therapy? Raised the tempo as they thrust into “Isolation”. Lead-singer Andy Cairns greeted the Belfast crowd, “We’re Therapy? and we’re from East Antrim. Are you ready to make some noise!?” before he urged the audience to help celebrate drummer Neil Cooper’s birthday and encouraged him to “drum like a motherfucker”, which was chanted en masse from charged onlookers. A set, laden with hits from the band’s 1994 record “Troublegum”, accompanied by penetrating bass lines from the “evil priest himself”, Michael McKeegan, Therapy? Were a pumped, energetic opening for the headline act!
As they entered to the iconic “Waltz in Black”, The Stranglers kept up the momentum with front man Baz Warne, welcoming the crowd as he acknowledged the re-schedule, due to the weather, last month, “That’s snow business, but we’re no flakes”, he smirked, “Thanks for coming back to see us!” before he continued with the punching set. As attendees hung on every note, chord, and beat, the four-piece blasted through with favourites including “Peaches”, “Golden Brown”, and “Always the Sun”, it was JJ Burnel’s pounding bass that took centre stage. Warne was quick to notice a waning concert goer amongst the euphoria, as he asked, “Are you having a good time, madame?” before continuing into a powerful rendition of “Walk on by” noting, “This one’s for you.”
Eighteen years, to the day, since Baz Warne became the voice of the new wave punk rockers, they finished with “No More Heroes” in front of a buzzing Belfast throng proving it was worth it. The Definitive Tour continues with further dates in Ireland, the UK, and Europe throughout 2018.
Review by: Colleen Marie
Photography: Darren Mcveigh