The Answer, Manchester Academy 2, Review.

First band up tonight was Skam a three piece hard rock band. They had a very energetic performance style with intense grooves and bluesy riffs, they deliver a sound holding true to British Rock and Roll. Steve Hill is definitely a member to mention, he is highly entertaining to watch with his very ballsy persona on stage. X-Ray is the drummer that passionately pounds beats that instantly gets the band moving on stage. I found him to be the spark that sets off the fire this band has. The audience found them providing a good show as they were gearing up for The Union and The Answer.

Now for the Union with legendary performers Luke Morley guitarist form Thunder and ex Winterville vocalist and guitarist Pete Shoulder. They entered the stage coming in with ‘Watch the River flow’,  a song with rhythm that possessed you to move. The audience however were enjoying the show, singing along to the words they knew but a very still audience for a blues rock and roll concert. I was a bit disappointed since The Union were going full throttle with hip swings and hip thrusts, as they boogied to ‘Black Gold’. I have to say from listening to their latest album ‘Siren’s Song’ Pete’s vocals were highly more impressive live. He has a creative free spirit that just lets loose when he plays. They had a strong set with a mixture of songs from their newest album and their debut self titled album.

The Union then slow things down with ‘Saviour’, as Pete’s vocals become mellow and intimate, drawing their fans in to the passion and the feel of the song. They pick the performance back up with ‘Step up to the Plate’ and ‘Obsession’.

Luke Morley when playing has a cool swagger that attracts attention with his incredible guitar stills as he and Pete jam together with bluesy guitar instrumentals that was loudly amplified and had a fast tempo, it had the whole horde screaming.

Pete Shoulder introduces a slower song to the set ‘Cut The Line’ where he fully expresses to his fans just how powerful his vocals are. The lyrics are strong that  relate some way or another to an individual. It possesses a personal touch within.

After a set full of laughs and rock and roll they finish with ‘Sirens Song’, yes there was actual movement from the crowd as everyone sung along making it a cracking ending, leaving us wanting more but now we were up right and ready for The Answer.

With The Answer you have never seen a front man like it, Cormac expresses himself every way possible through his body, possibly one of the best showmen in the time of blues rock and roll scene.  There is heat that comes from the stage as soon as he appears as they kick into ‘New Day Rising’ and ‘Under the Sky’, but things don’t really start getting hot till ‘Come Follow me’ and Paul comes in with one intense solo that deserves high recognition that is built up with a driving rhythm of repetitive riffs to explosion of complexity as he takes the lead.

‘Trouble’ is introduced by Cormac with dominant words, his spectators are watching him in awe but they also should be rocking out as much as he is.

The Answer brings calmness to their set as they play a single of their new album ‘Revival’ , ‘Nowhere Freeway’. Possibly my favourite song in the set, it has truth within its lyrics that paints a story in your mind as the melody transforms you to that place, hearing Cormac’s words in the background. It has a strong essence of Johnny Cash acoustic songs that is instantly appealing.
After such calmness comes an outburst of madness as ‘Preacher’ is laid upon us.    This is where things got wild. During the chorus before the instrumental Cormac comes off stage into the audience. Everyone was stunned as to what was going to happen next. He sung right centre getting everyone to sing along and preach to the skies. As the instrumental was building he got everyone to sit down he managed to get over half of the audience to sit but many still stood which was a shame blocking others to see what was going on. Everyone then jumped as it released to Cormac’s soaring vocals, making his way back to the stage.

They hit off with ‘Tornado’ ending with Paul’s time to shine in a solo that showed his true musicianship picking up harmonics that resonated across The Academy 2. It had blues, hard rock and style that would make any good guitarist shameful. We then had ‘Too Far Gone’ and ‘One More Revival’ to finish .

They exit the stage. and the crowd filled not only The Academy 2 but the whole of Oxford Road with cries for The Answer to return. They left it a good few minutes tempting the audience before they re-entered the stage to bring the finale of ‘Waste your Tears’ bringing all they had left and went for a 210% finish.

It was a show full of everything you could want from a rock and roll concert. From a more hard rock sound from Skam, a boogie from The Union and The Answer with their Irish banter. Their new album ‘Revival’ is out now and be sure to catch them on tour a show not to be missed.
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About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.