The Answer @ Mercury Lounge (2/3/2009)

The Answer are a hot Rock & Roll band that knows how to deliver and on a recent snowy night in NYC they made an appearance at The Mercury Lounge. Scroll past the logo to check out the report by Skeleton Pete. I shot the photos for this one and a full gallery will be presented in addition to what you see here.
Logo - The Answer

Artist: The Answer
Venue: The Mercury Lounge (New York, NY)
Opener: n/a
Date: 2/3/2009
Label: The End Records

Inclement weather does not deter the rock faithful of NYC from their appointed rounds, which is to set the DVR, shut off the 52” LCD, and get out of the house to hear some of the great live music of which we are blessed with in abundance. So despite the frozen slush and chilling wind that came with this evening’s snowstorm, it was no surprise that when Cormac Neeson (lead vocalist of The Answer) quizzed the packed house at the Mercury lounge on February 3, 2009 – “Is this your normal Tuesday night?” – He got a resounding “Hell, yeah” back. What ensued was a smoking set of gut bucket rock and roll riffs and bluesy hollers that paid off big dividends for the intrepid attendees that evening.

Through steady touring and support gigs to major acts including The Stones, Deep Purple, The Who, Eagles of Death Metal, and most recently AC/DC on the “Black Ice” tour, The Answer have begun to draw lots of favorable attention. This stage work under the watchful eyes of those industry veterans has driven The Answer to hone their craft with pressure cooker speed. Clearly something special, something genuine, is being created by these four gents from Northern Island and seeing them up close in a small venue made it even more palpable. So it was an amazing opportunity to see them have the stage all to themselves at this one off New York show.

While recent reviews, and even The Answer’s own biographical sketch, cite Led Zeppelin as a keystone to their sound they in fact sell themselves short in this comparison. There is an inner organic funk to The Answer that Zeppelin clearly aspired to but rarely attained. Sure they often drink from the same well. “Never Too Late” appropriates the stumble funk timing of The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” (a tune the Zepsters often jammed during their early days) and guitarist Paul Mahon dips now and then into the sanctified lick list of meister Page. Even so, hearing singer Neeson launch into a blues laden audience call and response made it immediately evident that the real progenitor of this band is the hot and nasty Humble Pie at their Fillmore East rocking zenith. Declaiming the word of rock and roll, his face buried under a wild mop of blonde hair and arm outstretched to the crowd, Cormac holds the audience like some hippie preacher as the band thunders behind him. It’s the same floor shaking stomp and slide of Steve Marriott and company that flows through the veins of The Answer. That’s a really good thing.

The group avoids virtuosic instrumental forays for compact presentations of their songs. Within their hour plus set we were treated to 11 tunes evenly selected from their first album “Rise” (still unissued in the U.S.), the current The End Records EP/DVD (“Never Too Late”), as well as material from their soon to be released CD “Everyday Demons”. Mahon’s leads stay tasty and to the point whether fired off as shards of open-tuned slide work or twisting wah-wah lines. His fills are as important as the solos, just like in the good old days. Equally powerful are drummer James Heatley and bassist Micky Waters, who lay down steady percolating rhythms for the soloists to ride on. It’s nice to hear a bass player who not only knows John Paul Jones but also Andy Fraser. Please get this boy an EB3.

As Piercing Metal’s resident “elder statesman” (i.e. “geezer”) I must admit I’m a mite predisposed toward the 1970’s Hard Rock sound. I grew up with it as it grew, found its fit and form, and ultimately morphed into heavier, louder and faster off-shoots. I have followed with interest the recent retro/neo Cream’s, Zep’s and Purple’s springing up and have seen and enjoyed many of them in concert. With that understanding I will say that The Answer, while mining the same musical territory, stands apart based on the organic, uncontrived feel of their performance and the joy and energy they play with. They are my current favorites in this genre by far.

Set list:
1. Demon Eyes
2. Never Too Late
3. Tonite
4. Cry Out
5. Come Follow Me
6. Walking Mat
7. Highwater or Hell
8. Too Far Gone
9. Preachin’
10. On and On
11. Under the Sky

Official Website: www.theanswer.ie

One thought on “The Answer @ Mercury Lounge (2/3/2009)”

  1. Shoot, sounds like a show I would have really liked. Something came up, IIRC. Nice to know this little niche of the rock genre still has legs.

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