THE Answer are on the crest of a wave. But there is no sudden crash waiting for the hometown heroes any time soon.
The usual form is that as soon as any band reaches a certain level the media decides to knock them down a peg or two.
Don’t believe the clichéd crap, because The Answer have ascended that; they have become the true hometown heroes – humble super stars with an awe inspiring live presence to match the peerless classic rock excellence of their recorded output.
On Monday night at the Mandella Hall it was a hot and sweaty lesson par excellence for budding protégés – there are many that might claim the throne, but few can aspire to achieve the presence and sheer joie de vivre that County Down’s finest can achieve.
Kicking off with the power packed album openers off Everyday Demons, Demon Eyes was blistering and Too Far Gone was a rallying cry for the disaffected, disenfranchised majority.
The true measure of any act taking to the stage in Belfast is their ability to merge the new with the old; the tried and tested with the new vibe.
Old favourites can raise the hands, raise the voices and raise the tempo. But can they stand beside the likes of Come Follow Me, Under the Sky, and Preaching in front of an audience that can react with indifference?
From the dark tones of Why’d You Change Your Mind, through to the surge of positivism echoed with Cry Out doubters be damned! The Answer proved they are now ‘all growed up’.
From the tiered stadia supporting AC/DC to the intimate Mandella Hall The Answer command any stage, any time.
It is too easy to say a band performed with aplomb. It is too easy to heap plaudits upon any band. But when the band is The Answer it is more difficult to find sufficient praise.
One magazine described Cormac as an ‘affable scarecrow’ off stage. On stage he exudes presence. Paul’s lead playing has emerged ever more powerful and lyrical in recent months, while Mickey and James lay down a rhythm tighter than ever before, despite James recent injury.
But what is more they now feel their way through the set. Preachin’ may get the crowd singing along, but newer tracks like On and On and Tonight sit easily in the set.
And it is a band that can have the anthem for ‘Norn Iron’ Dead of the Night dedicated to the first newspaper to cover then (the Newry Democrat) on the day that the newspaper closed its doors. In other words The Answer may have played to hundreds of thousands of people on the AC/DC tour; they may have appeared on then David Letterman Show: but they never forget where they laid down their rock roots and earned the stripes needed for success.
It is with that confidence that The Answer can throw in the Ike and Tina Turner song Nutbush City Limits and have Answer balloons bounced across the venue
The Answer’s take on classic rockin’ can be easily dismissed by the sneering critics who forget the sheer unadulterated excitement of a proper rock ‘n’ roll gig. They dismiss The Answer at their peril.
Co Down’s finest…The Answer.
Now, if you have any questions we can offer The Answer…harder than quadrilateral equations…more down-to-earth than an earthworm…cooler than ice chips in a heatwave…The Answer are Northern Ireland’s finest.
PS: The Answer are so cool that, despite their hectic schedule, they took almost an hour to back the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s ‘Here We Are…Nowhere’ campaign at the Oh Yeah Music Centre. www.niccy.org/herewearenowhere. Cool, hard and caring...that'll be The Answer!