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Dingwalls, Camden, London 12 February 2009

The Answer, photo Noel Buckley

After spending 2008 writing songs for their second album and touring with AC/DC, Irish classic rock rising stars The Answer were greeted by a packed crowd on their brief return to an English stage.

The band are all skilled players but it is singer Cormac Neeson who provides the focal point with his wild mane, hair to match and intense, hyperactive stage manner. Fortunately this is also accompanied by a touching modesty and self-deprecation between songs.

Unashamedly this gig was a showcase for their upcoming 'Everyday Demons' album, interspersed with some of the first album classics, the Zeppelin-esque Never Too late and Come Follow Me, mixing a massive riff with an equally big chorus.

As for the new material, their previous late 60's/early 70's blues rock influences seemed to have evolved into a slightly more straight ahead rock style, with AC/DC and Black Crowes influences to the fore.

Everyday Demons, Tonight and On and On were among songs that impressed, while Cry Out was more a throwback to their earlier style with a Free meets Humble Pie vibe and Comfort Zone had Eastern influences that almost called to mind Kula Shaker.

However on first listen many of the new songs lacked instantly memorable hooks - time will tell whether they will grow on me with repeated listening, or whether The Answer become one of those bands like Thunder who despite quality follow-ups, found that it was the debut album songs that always remained fan favourites.

The Answer, photo Noel Buckley

They closed the main set with Preachin', Cormac diving into the crowd while Paul Mahon produced wave upon wave of the best slide guitar since Micky Moody graced a stage with Whitesnake, and a 75 minute set ended with three encores, including High Water or Hell, perhaps the best of the new songs aired, and the classic Under the Sky which led to something of a mosh pit at the front.

Despite my unfamiliarity with the new material it was a good night, and a privilege to see them at a small venue as they progress to bigger things.

The Answer, photo Noel Buckley The Answer, photo Noel Buckley

Review by Andy Nathan

Photos by Noel Buckley

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