What's On

Your guide to everything in North East

Classic rockers The Answer will take to the stage at The Riverside in Newcastle

The Answer have been the next big thing in classic rock for more than a decade but is the luck of the Irish band about to change?

Irish rockers The Answer
Irish rockers The Answer

Sitting pretty inside the top 15 of the midweek album charts, The Answer’s brand new record Raise A Little Hell is on course to be their highest charting release to date.

It’s about time for the act voted Classic Rock Magazine’s best new band way back in 2005 and a welcome boost for a quartet baffled by the lukewarm reception to 2013’s New Horizon and a slew of poor crowds on the supporting tour.

Newcastle was just one of the cities that failed to embrace the band last time around and yet The Answer is not about to turn their back on Tyneside on the back of one quiet night.

“The Newcastle show was certainly one of those gigs where the attendance was a little disappointing,” admitted frontman Cormac Neeson. “But at the same time Newcastle is a city we’d play even if there were only 20 people turning out as long as those people loved the band.

“At this stage of our career it boils down to doing what we have to do and we’re proud of the fact that we’ve built our fan base on Tyneside from the ground up. “The first time we played Newcastle it was in front of a handful of people and as long as those people are still there we’ll keep coming back.”

Saturday’s show at the Riverside will mark a change in attitude and a change in direction as a band once deemed big enough to open up for AC/DC across the globe gives its standard setlist a welcome shot in the arm.

“We rehearsed the new songs the week before the tour just to make sure we were in a position to put the finishing touches to a few of the live versions,” added Neeson.

“We wanted to finalise a setlist that spanned our career and that we felt comfortable with but that’s easier said than done. With this tour we’re really throwing ourselves in at the deep end with the songs we’ve chosen.

“We’ve dropped a few songs that we’ve pretty much played on every tour to date for the last eight or nine years! It’s important to freshen things up a bit. We have a brand new record that we’re very proud of and we want to put those songs into the public domain as quickly as possible.

“We wrote these songs in a live environment. There were occasions when we’d write them on an acoustic guitar but it didn’t take long before we were plugging in and turning it up. Even in the studio we work in an as-live environment so we know the new songs will work on the road.”

The band’s latest compositions clearly work on vinyl with fans lapping up the various limited edition formats of Raise A Little Hell – helping to fire the album into the upper echelons of the UK chart.

“The bottom line is that not many people buy music any more,” added Neeson. “We’re continuing to put out records in the traditional way because we’re great believers in the record as a creative statement. We believe in having the physical album with artwork, liner notes – the full package.

“But you only have to look at the fact that streaming is being taken into account when judging chart positions – that says it all.”

So 15 years down the line do The Answer judge their five-album career a success? “The best way for us to judge how successful we are is by looking at the people who come to our shows and if they’re having a good time we must be doing something right,” added Neeson.

“As far as New Horizon is concerned we haven’t really come up for air since the start of that recording process so we see Raise A Little Hell as stage two of a new era for The Answer.

“We’ve just signed a deal to make another two albums with Napalm – our new record label - so that will be four records we’ll have released with them. We like working with them, they are incredibly supportive and we share a vision of where this band is going. Perhaps that’s how you can judge our success.”

* The Answer play Newcastle Riverside on Saturday, March 14. www.riversidenewcastle.co.uk

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer