Review by Paul Davis, Photos by Rich Ward
Tonight’s show was originally scheduled for the Wulfrun Hall. Whatever the reasons for the lower than expected ticket sales, it seems the right decision was made – rather a near capacity Slade Rooms than 500 people rattling around in the bigger venue.
Opening the show tonight were Cage The Gods and if you haven’t heard the one about the Irish vocalist, the Scottish guitarist, the English drummer and the Welsh bassist, well they’re ones to watch in 2014 when their debut album is released. With stunning vocals from Peter Cornerford and the songs to match, from the single ‘Bruce Willis (My Time Is Now)’ to the title track of forthcoming EP Favourite Sin, their set is quality throughout.
Adelaide trio Tracer now have a couple of acclaimed albums as well a Classic Rock Magazine award to their name so it’s no surprise to witness them playing to a big crowd. The surprise to some may be that they’re the support band. The band have a sound akin to Queens Of The Stone Age meeting Soundgarden and are immediately into their groove with ‘Too Much’ from their 2011 album Spaces In Between.
The likeness of Michael Brown’s vocals to Chris Cornell’s is uncanny at times, which of course can be taken as a huge compliment. Adding to the 70’s classic rock, grunge and stoner influences their latest El Pistolero album also features songs influenced by the movies of Roberto Rodriguez and the title track sounds immense tonight. ‘Voice In The Rain’ sees Brown getting the whole crowd involved before the set ends with a few hundred rockers looking forward to a headlining tour.
The Answer appear to be at a crucial point in their career, acknowledged by the title track of their new album ‘New Horizon’, the set opener tonight. With a growing back catalogue to call on, the set doesn’t lean too heavily on New Horizon, ‘Speak Now’ and ‘Spectacular’ get aired later on, the latter being an uplifting rock anthem of the kind that The Answer do so well. ‘Waste Your Tears’ from Revival is a hit with the crowd as is ‘Under The Sky’.
Things slow down with ‘Nowhere Freeway’ as just vocalist Cormac Neeson and guitarist Paul Mahon remain on stage. Originally a duet with Saint Jude’s Lynne Jackaman, on the last tour the band said they were still figuring out how to tackle it live. Somehow though, it still doesn’t hit the heights of the magnificent album version.
‘Leave With Nothin’ is another from New Horizon and is introduced as a song about making music for the love of it. The song begins with some funky bass from Micky Waters and ends with a killer guitar solo from Mahon, with his bandmates looking on admirably along with the fans. The blues influence is never far with this band and none more so than on ‘Memphis Water’.
When the time comes to play a song from the ‘Everyday Demons’ album, Neeson asks the crowd what they would like to hear, there are a few shouts for ‘Tonight’ but it’s ‘Demon Eyes’ that gets the nod. When the band return after being off stage for the briefest of moments, they encore with ‘Preachin’ which is as exhilarating as ever and as is tradition involves Neeson joining fans on the floor of the venue.
The big triumph of the night was Tracer’s set with Cage The Gods showing real promise. For The Answer, there’s a feeling they should have progressed further with their fourth album released and some big breaks earlier in their career. A good, solid set, just not spectacular.
See more of Rich’s photos here;