13th March 2015
Review by Ritchie Birnie
Photography by Gavin Lowrey
Retro rockers The Answer are in town promoting their new record, Raise a Little Hell. So how did one of Ireland’s premier rock bands go down and what is the new music like live? Read on.
The Answer had brought two completely different types of support band with them on tour and the first up was The Picturebooks (3/5). This is a German duo with just drums and guitar. The only way I can describe them is as a deleted scene from the movie Kalifornia. They may be German, but from their videos and their live performance they feel much more like good old boys from the South west.
They live a total Rock N Roll lifestyle of music, motorbikes, cars and skateboards (check out their website). The sound is original (as there are only two instruments) but there are plenty of comparisons to give you an idea. Imagine some old school ZZ Top mixed with a slowed down version of Black label society and you are pretty close. I thoroughly enjoyed them. The lighting was very low with lots of dry ice and this worked well in setting up an atmosphere (not so well for our photographer, hence no photos), and the drum set up made for a loud and very bouncy time.
Make sure you are there early to check the guys out. They will also probably be at the merch desk and are willing to sign copies of their album, Imaginary Horse which is always on sale. Look out for the barnstorming rendition of “Your Kisses Burn Like Fire, slow burner that kicks it up big time.
Next up is Bad Touch (4/5). Very similar in vain to the Answer and to the swell of 70’s type rock bands breaking through today. I caught them last year supporting The Electric Boys and they seriously impressed me.
I enjoyed them so much the last time I saw them I bought the debut CD Down and out and t-shirt (which I am proudly sporting this evening). It is well worth a purchase as it has 13 brilliant songs of swaggering, groovy, bluesy heaven. As sometimes happens with bands you enjoy live the CD wasn’t quite up there with the live show but that’s okay. Live is the best showcase for all the best bands (The Answer are definitely included in this).
The band take the stage and get started as Stevie walks onto the stage looking incredibly dapper, and I was asked not to reveal this but hey ho….the fact of the matter and the big secret is he is the bastard love child of Salvador Dali and Captain Jack Sparrow (fact). But man can he sing (and he plays a bit of the old moothy as we call it in these parts).
First up is “Waste My Time” from the new CD (in fact all of tonight’s songs are from the new disc. Kudos guys. Takes some balls to go for that). It is classic rock at its best. Great hooks and a catchy chorus. We move onto “Motherload” next, great intro from George on drums. We get a sing-along to get us into the song. This will be included in the set list for some time to come and gives a little peak into the band’s influences (which include little Angels and Skin…..two great British bands and fantastic live if you ever got to see them).
We shift into the CDs opening track “Wise Water”. A real bluesy start, lazy, “Black Crowes” sounding number with that sludgy, early ZZ Top vibe. “Words I Never Said” is what greets us next from the boys and one of my favourite numbers from the album. This one reminds me of Thunder a lot.
They sign off “With new day”. Another slice of solid rocking. The set was far too quick and I look forward to seeing them again soon(. If you are going to this tour make sure you check them out and bring along an extra £10 or, I can’t believe I am saying this as a Scotsman, but buy a couple less drinks and buy the CD. The band will hang about after the set. Get it signed and have a chat- They are a great bunch of guys.
So to the main event. Tonight is the showcase for the Answer’s (4.5/5) New CD Raise a Little Hell (RALH) which was released last week and charted #1 in UK rock charts and #16 in UK album charts. This is brilliant news and well deserved. I think this CD could break them big time.
To start things off we get the guitar and drum intro before they nail “I Am What I Am.” The drum beat seems to be directly connected to the buttocks as I cannot keep my legs at peace. The Answer have really built on their previous releases with the new stuff and the constant touring showing how honed they are at their craft. They go straight into the fabulous “Spectacular.” This has to be seen and heard live and the crowd love it.
As the songs flash past and the crowd beg for more it makes me wish I wasn’t reviewing this show as I want to throw everything away and get lost in the big, bluesy, classic rock cloud that this band portrays live. It has been a busy month for gigs in Glasgow and I have been at most of them but no one has even came close to pulling out a performance like tonight. I am so glad I have managed to see The Answer in some of the smaller venues of this fair city as it is not going to last and they WILL get what they deserve.
The acoustic comes out for “Last days of Summer.” It is a slow and winding build up, letting the instruments do the talking before the vocals ties it into a complete song. Another new track, “Strange Kind of Nothin'” is up next. Now this is an angelic piece of genius, and fell in love with this song the moment I heard it. This just shows you how much the band has grown. This is a top 5 answer song for me already( if you buy the deluxe CD you also get an acoustic version which is second only to tonight’s live version).
Next is “New horizon” before the title track from the new CD, which sees Cormac climb the barrier, break into the crowd and sit down. He gestures for the crowd to do the same. It’s a very strange thing to see at a gig and not many people could pull this off but the no nonsense, down to earth attitude of this hard working band demands respect. This song, like the whole show tonight is an experience to behold. No video or live recording could capture it.
With the encore comes “Evilman” and “Nowhere Freeway” and it’s over. 13 songs of pure enjoyment, but being greedy, it was not enough. We all wanted more so please, please come back soon guys. Don’t forget your Celtic cousins and I wish you all the success in the world for the new disc.
Miss this tour at your peril and regret.