The Answer, BlackWolf Hot

Added by James Gaden     May 01, 2014    
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Chester - The Live Rooms, 14 March 2014

I’ve been a fan of The Answer since 2006 when I first saw them supporting Whitesnake not long after ‘Rise’ was first issued. They have had some incredible opportunities, notably a World Tour with AC/DC, to reach a massive audience, yet fourth studio album ‘New Horizon’ has been seen in some quarters as a bit of a make or break album for the band if they are to move onto that world stage in their own right.

But first up tonight was BlackWolf. There seems to have been a resurgence of Classic Blues-based Rock in the last year or so with the likes of Buffalo Summer from the U.K. and Scorpion Child from U.S.A. to name but two;. both have been rightly championed throughout the music press. BlackWolf deserve to be - and on this performance certainly are - right up there with the best of them. With a recent album ‘The Hunt’ to promote they put on a show full of energy and no little class. Scott Sharp’s vocals soared whilst maintaining that Bluesy rough edge and although guitarists John Greenhill and Jason Cronin have clearly different styles and influences, Greenhill’s soulful playing and Cronin’s faster more Metal-lead work merged seamlessly into one huge sound. ‘...Hunt’ is an excellent album but freed from the restrictions of the studio, the songs exuded real quality. Despite an array of influences and musical tastes throughout the band, as someone old enough to remember them first time around, it’s the early Led Zepplin and Free feel that underpinned the sound. As Sharp said after the show “it’s all held together by the Blues”. A few summer festivals are next for BlackWolf then hopefully a few dates of their own later in the year. Catch them if you can.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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TA opened up with ‘New Horizon’ and ‘Road Less Travelled’ from the new album. They were in no mood to let the audience have anything but a good time. It was high energy Rock and Roll, with Cormac Neeson’s vocals clear and powerful with an excellent all round sound. Paul Mahon’s guitar work was exceptional, full of soul as well as no end of muscle, but he still managed to pull out all the poses and played most of his solos with guitar held high in the air.

There was plenty of variety in the set as well. ‘Spectacular’ was just that, a huge stomping chorus that’s as infectious as they come. ‘Memphis Water’ harked back to first album ‘Rise’ with its whisky soaked low down Blues, indicating the source of the bands roots and inspiration. It was the same with the inspiration of Rory Gallagher, whose impact was paid homage to with a rousing version of his ‘Cradle Rock’ classic. Early songs such as ‘Come Follow Me’ and ‘Under The Sky’ sat comfortable alongside the newer material of ‘Concrete’ and ‘Speak Now ’with barely a let up. Rhythm pair of Michael Waters and James Heatley were just so damn efficient in their roles it was almost easy to overlook, but it’s their solid contribution that allows Mahon to weave his magic so effectively. They may be a one guitar band, but there was a full sound throughout, no space or lack tone when he launched into the lead breaks.

Highlight of the night was saved for the encore with ‘Preachin’, TA’s very own Gospel Blues Rock classic. It was full of mean slide guitar and as much rhythm and soul as one song can take. When Neeson ventured out into the audience and had them seated on the floor around him as he preached to them, it was Classic Rock and Roll, and it was hard to tell who enjoyed it the most.

Dispel any lingering doubts, The Answer were as good tonight as I’ve ever seen them. They have always been a hard working, gigging band and that shows no sign of let up with over thirty shows in February and March in addition to a forty plus date European tour in October and November last year. They still sound fresh and enthused in front of an audience and whatever questions you may have, everybody should know The Answer.

Ian Parry

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