The Answer at The 100 Club
20th March 2023
A trip to the iconic 100 Club is never not a promise and a half of a good night. Especially with The Answer gracing its doors. Seven years since their last release and the question of whether they’d be back on the road was finally – pardon the pun – answered. The Irish quartet has garnished a loyal following since forming in 2000, a fact made clear by the throngs of excited faces packed into the London venue.
Support act Oli Brown & The Dead Collective blew our bloody socks off in a shockingly good 30-minute set faced forwards to a brimming leather-clad audience. Brown is joined onstage by drummer Wayne proctor and guitarist Sam Wood. Personally, I’m a sucker for a non-traditional band lineup as it nine times out of ten will keep your eyebrows raised and your ears pricked throughout. The ambient use of backing samples from their newly released EP ‘Prelude’ created an entirely new level for Brown and the boys to leap onto in full rock force. ‘Everything You Want’ is fiercely well performed before ‘Sinking Ship’ and ‘Haunted’ utilise the same theme of emotively charged, heavy set rock.
Whether it’s sharing one mind or just blood, sweat and tears spent in long rehearsal sessions, the trio are unequivocally unified with every note. Wood puts on one heck of a show, adding a vibrant energy that’s matched by Olli’s eclectic vocal mixture of the gruff and the serene. The combination of Fender and Gibson onstage is a duel powerhouse affair with no room for bass. ‘Heard It All Before’ rock the audience out before ‘Your Love’ paves the way for Brown’s softer-edged axe to play the tease with his crowd. Thundering and emotional, they finish with ‘Home Sweet Home’. The ultimate end dosage of a hand-to-heart power anthem, it crescendos and entices with each strum crash hit and echoing backing guitar solo work. Within seconds of their set, I couldn’t help but feel like what we were hearing and seeing wasn’t far off from a festival’s main stage. Even in this brilliantly intimate venue Oli Brown & The Dead Collective made me feel like they were playing to thousands. And I’m sure they soon will be.
After a brief interlude Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin In The Wind’ started to play along with the thankful cheers of an audience yearning for their entertainers to take to the stage. The jam-packed room gave a mighty cheer as Cormac Neeson (vocals) Micky Waters (bass) Paul Mahon (guitar) and James Heatley (drums) stepped up onto their historic place mats for the night.
‘London town are you with us?!’
Kicking things off with ‘Keep Believin’’ the entire room step forwards. Neeson drips with high energy showmanship as he grabs the mic, strutting across the stage with a shimmy and a shake. Taken from their debut album back in 2006 it’s the perfect intro track for a room full of Answerers. Tight as a nail and as groovin as a Friday night The Answer hit the stage with nothing but the perfect rocking stride. Neesen eggs on the audience with charismatic ease. It’s obvious from the get go this is an audience of faithful followers who’ve been trapped in a cage of no Answer for too long before tonight.
With their latest album, Sundowners, being released just last week it’s expected much of their show will contain a large chunk of the record. A few songs in and Neeson casually drops in that the album just charted at number 12 here in the UK. It’s no wonder why. ‘Blood Brother’, ‘Cherry’, the title track and ‘All Together’ are tremendous right down to each high-hat hit. Having had their debut album on CD (sounds awfully vintage now doesn’t it!) It was a treat to hear their new material has only gotten bigger. Paul Mahon brings his full guitarist gusto to the gig, playing unsparingly on ‘California Rust’ before switching guitars between tracks for that perfect tone. “Paul whatchoo got?’ Hollers Neeson as Mahon replies with a kick and a shred.
it’s fresh with the right amount of old material dotted in between. ‘Nowhere Freeway’ brings out a warm nostalgia in the room as the whole band sing along, not missing the chance to be a part of the old days. ‘Preachin’ also makes an endearingly received appearance.
A tambourine, a harmonica and a hell of a lot of attitude later The Answer douse their music with that western tinge which has always woven itself in and out of their music. Undeniably catchy chorus’ require an audience gang chant and even after Neeson teases his UK crowd with ‘that’ rugby defeat, the crowd raise their beers and sing along. Even when they drop the tempo down for ‘Always Alright’ the ‘oomph’ is never lost. Their discography alone demonstrates their musical prowess but to see it live is just the cherry on top.
Having had their band van stolen a few weeks before the tour kicked off it’s a surprise the smiles and laughs are as high octane as they are now. But with The Answer it’s nothing but good time, positive feel, unapologetic rock ’n’ roll. As thrifty as ever with foot thumping beats and a stylish instrumental, they are The Answer. Let’s hope to see them grace our festival stages this summer!
Check out our Sundowners Album Review Here:
Live Review: Monty Sewell
Photography: Stephen Andrews
The Answer will promote their new album release with a run of limited-capacity album launch shows, and tour dates with Oli Brown & The Dead Collective across the UK.
TOUR DATES: UK March 2023
Mar 16th Blackpool, Waterloo Bar
Mar 17th Birmingham O2 Institute.
Mar 19th Bristol Thekla
Mar 20th London 100 Club
Mar 21st Leeds Key Club
Mar 23rd Belfast Limelight 2
EUROPE March & April 2023
Mar 25th Haarlem, Patronaat – Holland
Mar 26th Den Bosch, Willem Twee – Holland
Mar 28th Essen, Turock – Germany
Mar 29th Hamburg, Logo – Germany
Mar 30th Berlin, Franz Club – Germany
Mar 31st Munich, Strom – Germany
Apr 1st Dornbirn, Conrad-Sohm, Austria
Apr 2nd Zurich, Plaza – Switzerland
Apr 4th Strasbourg, La Laiterie – France
Apr 5th Savigny, L’Empreinte – France
Apr 6th. Vorselaar, De Dreef – Belgium