The Answer, Exeter Review!

The Answer hit Exeter on the penultimate date of their UK tour, and provided just what you need on a Friday night – a night of well crafted, honest to goodness Rock ‘n’ Roll.

First up on the Lemon Grove stage, was the unusual sight of a band with just two members. Hailing from Germany, but sounding like they can only have grown up in the Louisiana swamps, was The Picture Books.

Despite being short on numbers, their sound is huge. Drums and guitar share the front of the stage and couple a driving, almost tribal rhythm, often played on tom-toms with mallets, with a full, crunching, fuzzed up, guitar sound.

Their efforts get little reaction from the sparse, early-doors crowd, despite the considerable energy they put in.

In truth, it is hard to see where a band like this can go in the future, but they are intriguing and their short set was a welcome change to the norm.

Next up were Bad Touch. This is the second time I have caught them live (they played the Red Bull tent at Download last summer) and they went down a storm both then and now.

Fronted by the charismatic Stevie, they deliver a brand of catchy rock that reminds us of Thunder, Black Crowes, and even a little of the headliners themselves.

There are few people who can carry off a waxed moustache, let alone a poncho, but Stevie brings great stagecraft and swagger to the front of the stage. The image gets your attention, but behind the initial visual is a great voice and a laid back rapport with the crowd.

The guys deliver a cracking set. Seven songs from the new album “Half Way Home” fly by in a blur of driving rhythm and blistering guitar work.

Bad Touch are a band that, if there is any justice, will find themselves a wider audience and the success their hard work deserves.

Finally, on to the headliners. This was my first experience of The Answer, and they won me over effortlessly.

It’s always a privilege to see a band on top form, and The Answer were just that.

Hitting the stage to a sensational version of “I am what I am”, their simple but effective Rock ‘n’ Roll, courtesy of a crystal clear sound system, ripped out.

No time to relax, and it was straight into “Spectacular”, which was just that. The vocals are note perfect and the guitar work of Paul Mahon has a delicious blues edge in support.

Urged on by some great stick work by James Heatley and the sort of bass rhythm that can be seen reflected in the motion of the crowd courtesy of Micky Waters, the band gave us a set covering more years than it seems fair to mention.

They aren’t a band living on past glories however. The new album, “Raise A Little Hell”, is currently Number 1 in the UK Rock Chart, a fact that singer Cormac Neeson tells the crowd with a slightly overwhelmed grin. The set features a good smattering of songs from that album; with the title track particularly impressive live.

There is time for some acoustic fun as Heatley joins the band at the front of the stage and Waters swaps to an acoustic guitar for “Strange Kind Of Nothing” and even the delightfully bizarre sight of Neeson visiting the crowd and urging them to join him sat on the floor at the centre of an ever-widening circle.

The pace kept up right to end, with the band focusing on packing in the songs rather than endless chat, and the encore of “Nowhere Freeway”, chosen by a fan vote on Twitter, closed the night, as it began, with energy and drive.

An evening of Rock ‘n’ Roll with a band currently at the top of their craft, playing catchy songs with style, what could be better?

Review and Photography by Rob Wilkins

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