Stendhal Set for a Course of Therapy?
They've made their mark on the world's biggest stages, but Ireland's Best Small Festival will present an all new challenge for Andy Cairns and co.
Larne rockers Therapy? have been helping the afflicted since 1990, and next month will be prescribing their pulse-racing signature sound to those experiencing 'the syndrome' at Stendhal Festival of Art.
The multi-million selling trio are set to headline the weekend-long event at Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady on August 12, which for the past two years has been named as Ireland's Best Small Festival.
With a career spanning over 25 years, Therapy? are one of the most revered acts to ever emerge from Northern Ireland, having had numerous top ten singles, 14 critically acclaimed studio albums and a Mercury Prize nomination as well as awards from Kerrang! and the prestigious Oh Yeah Legends accolade.
The band's 1994 album Troublegum was a landmark release during the alternative rock boom, with tracks like 'Screamager', 'Nowhere' and 'Die Laughing' helping to cement their place in the annals of angst-driven guitar music. Their most recent album Disquiet marked a return to the charts and was evidence of the band's riffs being as razor sharp as ever.
'We are excited to see what Stendhal has in store for us,' says frontman Andy Cairns. 'It’s a lot more exciting for the band to come and play new places than go back to venues they have been in hundreds of times before.
'Shows in new venues and towns where we have never played before present new challenges and as a band we like to be challenged. Having never gigged in Limavady before we have a new crowd to perform for, new people to work with and a new experience to look forward to.'
Having toured the globe and played at the world's biggest festivals, Cairns admits that he and the band usually enjoy festival shows even more than their own tour gigs, simply because they feel a lot less pressure and can really let loose.
'Festivals are great because they aren’t our gig,' he laughs. 'When you are not having to worry about all the things that surround touring such as ticket sales, travel, set up, promotion, introducing new tracks, playing for over two hours a night, festivals provide us with an opportunity to just go out and perform with the pressure off.
Over the years Therapy? have made their mark on rock meccas such as Reading and Leeds and Donington Park, but Cairns cites the bands appearance at Monsters of Rock in Sao Paulo as a particular standout of all the line-ups they've been a part of.
'We opened for Alice Cooper and Megadeth that night,' he recalls. 'It was in the Sao Paulo Football Stadium and it was a 70,000 people sell out. It was incredible.' Yet his highlight was watching Dave Mustaine and co. from the very top of the stadium.
'The security allowed us access to a part of the ground that allowed us to look one way and see the whole of Sao Paulo and then look behind us to see Megadeth playing in front of a monster crowd. The sun was setting and everything. It was an amazing moment and I always remember thinking to myself at the time, "You aren’t in Antrim anymore kid."
Often seen as the godfathers of alternative rock in Northern Ireland, Therapy? have been there, done that and bought the t-shirt, and Cairns has high hopes for other homegrown artists replicating their level of success.
'Festivals are an important showcase for bands trying to breakthrough,' he says. 'For such a small place Northern Ireland has so many amazing bands and musicians so events like Stendhal are a great opportunity to get noticed.
'At the minute I really like Axis Of, Goons and I think that Robyn Shiels is one of the best and most important songwriters in Northern Ireland. I like Boxcutter and Space Dimension Controller too but to be fair I could name loads of homegrown acts that I have plenty of time for.'
Stendhal director Ross Parkhill is equally thrilled to have the band as one of the headline acts of the festival this year. 'Therapy? are one of the best known and loved rock bands to ever come from our shores so we are of course delighted to be welcoming them to the farm on August 12,' he says.
'They have played all over the world at some of the biggest festivals and have one of the most electric live sets I’ve ever seen, so they will no doubt be a real highlight at Stendhal this year.'
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