Review by Paul Davis and photos by Sean Larkin
Tonight, the hotly anticipated co-headliner featuring Northern Ireland’s finest The Answer and Luke Morley’s blues rockers The Union came into Nottingham. Tonights support, as they have been on the rest of the tour is Leicester’s Skam.
Skam arrive on stage to a decent sized crowd, an enthusiatic response for them with guitarist/vocalist Steve Hill thanking the ‘Skam massive’ for their support. With a classic British heavy rock sound, highlights from their set include ‘Going Away’ which starts out as a slower, more mellow song before changing tempo midway through, ‘No Lies’ and closing song ‘Massacre’.
After the intro tape, ‘Part Of The Union’ by The Strawbs, The Union were the first of the co-headlining bands to take to the stage, opening their set with ‘Watch The River Flow’ from the debut album. The band have a winning combination, with Luke Morley’s talents on guitar and Peter Shoulder’s sublime vocals, not forgetting that the former Winterville man is a very fine guitar player too.
Now with two hugely acclaimed albums to choose their set from, the highlights tonight are ‘Obsession’, already a fan favourite from the latest album, ‘Saviour’ which sees Shoulder switching to acoustic guitar. ‘Cut The Line’ is a killer ballad that really showcases Shoulder’s vocal talents, ‘Easy Street’ and ‘Black Monday’ follow before finally Rock City falls under the spell of ‘Siren’s Song’.
Having last experienced The Answer in the rather different surroundings of Glasgow’s Hampden Park, as support on AC/DC’s huge Black Ice tour, it was good to get to see the band up close. The Answer’s performance is that of a band with a decade of touring together behind them, Cormac Neeson knows how to work a crowd, he even ends up joining the crowd during ‘Preachin’. Behind him, guitarist Paul Mahon is excellent as are the rhythm section of Micky Waters and James Heatley.
After opening with ‘New Day Rising’ from the new album, frontman Neeson asks if the Rock City crowd if they’re ready for some rock ‘n’ roll. Despite the fact that the band had only been in Nottingham a few months previously, it was evident that the crowd were more than ready for The Answer’s blues influenced brand of rock ‘n’ roll.
‘Under The Sky’, ‘Vida (I Want You)’, ‘Come Follow Me’ and ‘Trouble’ keep the place rocking before ‘Nowhere Freeway’ is introduced as a song that the band are still working on how to perform live.On the album version Lynne Jackaman from Saint Jude shares vocal duties but tonight it’s just Neeson singing on a slowed down version of the song. Mahon solos during ‘Tornado’ before the set closes with ‘Too Far Gone’ and ‘One More Revival’. After a very short break the band return to encore with ‘Waste Your Tears’
It may have been billed as a co-headliner and the bands did have the same amount of stage time, but someone had to close the show. It felt right that it was The Answer who did so with their more high tempo, energetic performance. Overall though, a top value evening for the fans, two of the finest British bands around for the price of one.