The Answer, Winnebago Deal @ Bloomsbury Ballroom, Holborn, London,
For the second time in recent months I head to catch one of my favorite bands who produced my #4 album of 2006 Rise. First time I saw these guys was on a three way spilt (oooh..er) let the good times roll tour with Roadstar and Rose Hill Drive. Tonight was a huge leap from the West End in the confinds of the Mean Fiddler, to this impressive Art Deco Ballroom in the city. tonight’s accomplice is a budding electronic Blipping and Beeping DJ Semephor aka Saff who was a live gig virgin (oooh..er).
After stumbling into what seemed to be the pre-gig drinking hole of choice and drinking alongside a Bryan May look-alike, we trotted over intending to be fashionably late. Somehow this was totally upended by the huge queue which stretched back half way round the building! The Answer have definitely gone up in the world since their last visit to the capital. Once inside you could instantly tell this was not your grotty little palace of rock and roll folklore, but more accustomed to fleet footed waltzers and socialite courting. The impressive ballroom itself was large well decorated and had an extremely funky modern bar area out back. From here it went downhill. Take this calculation, 500+ Answer fans + 8 feet of bar + 8 bar staff + bottled beer poured into plastic cups = a mob of angry, thirsty and sober fans (not a great combination).
After resigning to the fact that 1 beer is all I was getting, we headed to witness the opening band Winnebago Deal. Now first thing which hit home with this band was, how on earth are those two making such an incredible racket! They were brash, bold loud and angsty with throat shredding vocals and stomping drumbeats all lathered with metal riffage. Their set was full of teenage riotus energy and in the right arena (Mean Fiddler) with the right crowd (Teen Punkers) would totally kick ass! Surprisingly, this wasn’t quite their night, but you could see the talent and mind blowing awesomeness ready to burst onto the rock scene!
Anticipation had reached fever pitch and the crowd stretched way back as The Answer took to the stage. They quickly fired in some classics from their debut LP Rise as floors started to shudder under the immense of the dirty blues rock! The lead singer, a Robert Plant look-alike, once again blew me away again with his superb rough and ready classic rock vocals. It wasn’t just the all out guitar assaults which formed the highlights of the set for me this time out. The slower moody blues tracks of “Memphis water” with its extensive vamping and the religious choral melody of Preachin’ were especially fantastic. The Answer also previewed a few ‘in progress’ tracks, these sounded great, they had all the cornerstones of the Answers sound in place, simple heavy blues riffs, the raw vocals, thumping bass and those awesome guitar solo’s. One new track was untitled thus far and the singer even invited the crowd to send in suggestions to the website, true fan interaction.
Closing the set was a breathtaking rendition of the pinnacle of their craft Under The Sky, which was , StupendoFantastiCollosUltIncRockable. It was during this I turned and realized that Saff was enjoying this as much as I was, all we needed was some longer hair and we would have been in prime hard rock nostalgia mode. As if this wasn’t enough for one night they pulled out an inspired true to the original cover version of Aerosmith’s signature tune, Sweet Emotion (no guesses on whose supporting Aerosmith this summer).
Again I cannot stress enough my love of this band and going on tonight’s show they have opened another branch of the Answer fanbase and definitely shown Saff the way of the rock and roll. Will he be dropping the electro beats laptop and picking up a guitar soon? That definitely remains to be seen, but in the meantime an education in rock was lectured here this evening, and The Answers faithful were witness to another show of greatness. As Bon Scott once shouted loud and proud, ‘Its a long way to the top (if you want to rock and roll)’ and these guys are destined for the very very highest.