Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, June 06, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: The Answer and Screaming Eagles bring down the rock and soul at Limelight

THERE is no doubt that over the past dozen years or so The Answer have been flying the flag for hard rock across the globe, and it is now 10 years since the band released their d├ębut album 'Rise'.

To celebrate the anniversary The Answer are re-issuing the album with re-mastered tracks and bonus material. Ahead of its release the band were in Belfast's Limelight1 on Friday, June 3rd to play the album in its entirety.

Before the County Down rockers, another set of serious Northern Ireland rockers arrived on stage with a boom.

Screaming Eagles are making a name for themselves with their no-nonsense, high octane approach, and with two albums and a number of significant festival appearances and tours.

That refinement is apparent from the first bars of  'Ready for the Fall' as a cacophony of chords rained down on the gathering crowd. The titular 'Screaming Eagles' follows in a flurry of superbly executed call outs and melodies. Rousing stuff.

The only blip was the appearance of cover tracks, which could well have been filled with some of their own work in what was a short support slot.

However, 'Hungry for More' and closer 'Rock 'n' Roll Soul' were excellent examples of what the band are capable of.

The gig had been upgraded from Limelight2, a move justified by the gathering crowd and the number paying at the door. The Answer are always a draw, no matter what they are doing.

Cormac and co were not on a nostalgia trip, despite playing 'Rise' in full. This was about re-affirming the musical roots of The Answer. This was about laying down a marker. This was about rock and fucking roll in all its glories and triumphs.

'Under the Sky' merely wakened the crowd from its between bands reverie, scampering from smoking areas and the bar to reach the front.

There is a precision to what The Answer to such an extent that were you not to be watching you'd think you were listening to one of the best raw live albums. Turn to face the ban and you see the sheer sense of pleasure the band enjoy.

Cormac's voice booms and slides in equal measure as his slight frame threatens to wrap itself around the mic stand and moves across the stage like a rock cobra. Paul wields his guitar through gyrations of movement while his fingers torture notes and tease phrases and riffs.

Mikey seems conjoined with his bass while James' pores ooze sweat as he pounds his kit into submission.

Each track from 'Rise' is not regurgitated, but is taken, shaken and given new light. 'Memphis Water' allows for a bluesy breather, after the metal bluster and battering of 'Into The Gutter'.

'Preachin' delivers its wit with the crowd joining in the incantation to "join the Baptist Church", while 'Keep Believin' is not just a song of hope, but one that 10 years on is something the band and fans really do as we look forward to the next decade, believing.

Of course, while 'Rise' is about loving the roots that The Answer planted when they began, it is the next chapter that's about to unfold. A new album is nearly complete, for release later in the year.

And, to conclude the evening two new tracks where unveiled. 'Thief of Light' and 'Solas' both demonstrated the real promise that the next phase holds for the band.

From the past to the future, The Answer are holding a torch for rock that shines bright.

Review by Jonny. Photos by Darren McVeigh. Reproduction by explicit written permission only.

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