The Answer – The Globe
The bar for this gig had been set extremely high following the previous night’s storming Lords of the Riff tour in Bristol but if ever there was a night to catch Northern Ireland’s The Answer, then St Patrick’s Day was it.
Unfortunately we once again got drawn into the time warp that is the Tandoori Mahal and as a result of spectacularly poor service we totally missed Blackwolf. How long does it take to serve four people in an empty restaurant for fuck’s sake??
So it was onto the main event without a musical warm up. Luckily we'd all had a good liquid warm up and clutching pints of Guinness we lurched our way to the front as the band launched into New Horizon from the latest long player release. Bluesy and with a bucketful of soul, they followed this with Road Less Travelled, generating masses of energy from the packed audience who appeared as determined as the band to have a great night. Founder and guitarist Paul Mahon cuts a fine shape stage left, ably supported by James Heatley on drums and bassist Micky Waters. Musically The Answer are quite superb, driving hard rock with a classic melodic undertone, as demonstrated with fan favourite Trouble from Revival which preceded the first of four tracks from debut album Rise, the anthemic Under the Sky. The rhythm section of Heatley and Waters are quite happy to deliver the base from which Mahon can demonstrate what a decent guitarist he is. However, the star of this band is frontman Cormack Neeson. With his tousled blond locks cascading down in a mane so reminiscent of a certain Robert Plant, Neeson has a voice and the charisma to carry the band forward and he does this with ease, delivering a vocal performance that old Percy would surely approve of. Following Concrete, the band threw in a well appreciated cover of Cradle Rock, made famous by another Irishman, the legendary Rory Gallagher. By now the band were in full swing with Neeson offering swigs of Jamesons to the front row. The chart friendly Nowhere Freeway turned into a full scale sing along with our crew hollering tunelessly (speak for yourself Matt), Guinness flying everywhere! Spectacular followed; cue even more awful singing and much fist pumping as the temperature continued to rise and the party accelerated towards the climax. A slight change of pace for the blues soaked Memphis Water allowed everyone to get their breath back with Mahon soloing centre stage whilst Neeson had a quick break. Closing with Come Follow Me the band then finished with a quick one two of Comfort Zone from Everyday Demons before Preachin’ brought the evening to a typical Baptist revival church style finish. A brilliant evening with more than enough to rival the previous evening’s entertainment, Highlights of the evening? Clearly the excitement on a certain female member of our party who on her way down the stairs at the end of the set bumped straight in Cormack Neeson, and ended up with a massive hug from him! To be fair, I’d have hugged him too! The other highlight was finding out that The Answer will be at Steelhouse in July. Excellent news!
One complaint? Put Demon Eyes back in the set as I love it. One fear: after 12 years the band appears to have plateaued a little and, as much as I love seeing them in small venues, it would be great to see them get a bit of wider exposure to allow them to progress. Maybe they need AC/DC to get back out on the road again. 9/10