Southampton’s Brook venue has a rich history of classic rock bands that have passed through it over the years; everybody from UFO to Hawkwind have played here, but tonight the stage is the platform from which the new generation of rockers can showcase their talent.
Support comes in the form of up-and-coming Bristolians Black Wolf. As with the headliners, they draw heavily from the glory days of bluesy hard rock in terms of both sound and aesthetic, calling to mind Free and Led Zeppelin. While their formula is hardly the most original, their songs are excellently crafted. Singer Scott Sharp has a powerful, soulful voice and guitarist John Greenhill skilfully teases every note from his instrument with precision. All in all, the band are a fine addition to this lineup.
An extremely enthusiastic roadie provides the half-time entertainment as he sets up The Answer’s gear; approximating a series of classic riffs on the guitar and bass, and crooning lines from a couple of Whitesnake tunes into each of the microphones. When the band does hit the stage, they look as if they’re having the time of their lives from the first moment. Singer Cormac Neeson twists himself into all kinds of shapes and bounces along to every fast-paced moment as if he were in the front row at an AC/DC concert. ‘This is the first time we’ve ever been to Southampton!’ he exclaims. Better late than never if you ask me! After all, the point of this tour, dubbed ‘The Road Less Travelled tour’, is to visit a lot of the towns and cities that the band hasn’t played in a while. There is a good mix of new songs from last year’s New Horizon with more established fan favourites like ‘Under the Sky’ and ‘Come Follow Me’. Recent single ‘Spectacular’ lives up to its title, and the opening ‘New Horizon’ is received like an old classic. Cormac clambers down into the crowd for the final encore of ‘Preachin’’ before inviting everyone in the room to stay and have a drink with him and his bandmates. Judging by the success of this first visit, with any luck it won’t be too long until The Answer come back to Southampton for round two.