You know how you can tell you’ve just seen a great gig? Its the hordes of sweat drenched rockers grinning like idiots as they file out of a venue. Your own ears are ringing, you have that permanent grin smacked on your face, and all you can hear are the collective departing voices declaring “How awesome was that?”, your own reply… “simply outstanding”. Tonight, Nottingham Rescue Rooms witnessed yet another one of these such gigs. The two protagonists taking the form of two raucous Rock ‘n’ Roll outfits, namely Gentlemans Pistols and Northern Ireland’s The Answer.

We have to admit that tonight’s TINAS operatives were complete virgins when it came to Gentlemans Pistols, so we really didn’t know what to expect. We truly didn’t expect four guys to take the stage resembling a head on collision between Biffy Clyro and a 1970’s science teachers’ conference, and we really didn’t expect these guys to deliver half an hour of awesome, gutsy, in your face rock. As a support act these guys were spot on, turning the static unsure querying faces in front of them into rocking and approving punters within the first song.

Gentlemans Pistols have presence and talent in buckets, almost retrofitted with SG guitars and beards, they pummel and pound their instruments to create anthemic quality choruses and beastly infectious grooves and riffs. ‘Widow Maker’, ‘Some Girls Don’t Know What’s Good For Them’ and ‘Lying and Fooling’ stand out as quality tracks, as these four deliver the perfect opening for any top Rock ‘n’ Roll night. We are hooked and definitely want more of Gentlemans Pistols.

The Answer are seasoned professionals now who seem to live for touring. Just watch the impressive ‘412 Days of Rock N Roll’ DVD to see how committed these four guys are. They just do not know how to do anything other than blow audiences away. James Heatley, Mickey Waters and Paul Mahon take the stage prior to the imminent arrival of the hyper active, charismatic front man Cormac Neeson and Mahon blazes into the immediately identifiable opening salvo riff for ‘Under The Sky’. It seems like Mahon just lit the blue touch paper and Neeson’s arrival caused the explosion as The Rescue Rooms roof feels the full impact of being lifted.

Neeson jigs and bounces as his vocals cut through the mix with surprising clarity. Mahon effortlessley flies around his fretboard, holding his position stage left, throwing the odd ‘back arched, guitar in the air perfect photo pose’ for those punters equipped with cameras. ‘Under The Sky’ makes way for the first foray into new album territory with a blinding rendition of ‘Trouble’, complete with Neeson hammering out harmonica breaks. Waters and Heatley are fine tuned to perfection holding the foundations of The Answer together. ‘Into The Gutter’ is as explosive as it is infectious, as the four fellas from County Down serve up a lesson in pure raw rock.

The Answer are very much a live band, and they stay true to their roots with remaining a four piece. Despite the over dubs on the albums, they sound just as huge live. Mahon takes his fills and breaks with style as Waters fills any guitar rhythm void with huge bass lines. As another another ‘Revival’ track gets an airing ‘Trouble’, Waters gets his chance to really shine, with a gut pounding bass solo outro to massive cheers. Mahon gets his slot and time to impress with his solo explosion coming at the tail of ‘Evil Man’. His guitar acrobatics bordering on frightening, as the Nottingham throng laps everything up, hungry for more.

Neeson is the perfect foil for such musicianship and a hugely entertaining front man. Regularly declaring his love for Nottingham, and responding to the banter and “new song” requests, he has the audience in the palm of his hand. So much so, he can leap into the crowd; he can get the entire place singing back to him “Gonna get me religion, I’m gonna join the Baptist church”, and even more impressively, he can get all of us to kneel with him in the middle of the floor of a rock venue. He commands, and we the masses respond. We’ve seen bands try to conduct crowds like this from the stage, with varying degrees of success, but Neeson really takes the biscuit, by joining the crowd to conduct proceedings. It’s all just top stuff.

One and a half hours flies by. The Answer do not put a foot wrong. The set is superb, although there are a couple of tracks we would have liked to have heard (‘Come Follow Me’, ‘Never Too Late’), but ‘Revival’ tunes are justifiably getting more prominence, sitting perfectly along side their already classic fist pumpers from the first two albums. Rose Tatoo’s ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw’ delivers a sucker punch of gargantuan proportions, and set closer ‘Waste Your Tears’ threatens to usurp ‘Under The Sky’ as the anthem of choice.

The Answer have laid waste to Nottingham tonight. It is stripped and raw Rock n Roll at it’s finest. The guys leave the stage to rapturous cheers, leaving the crowds buoyed further by the announcement of a return to Rock City in March next year… We’ll be there, and we suggest you are too.

The Answer Setlist:
Under The Sky
Into the Gutter
Vida (I Want You)
Evil Man
Too Far Gone
Comfort Zone
Piece By Piece
Why’d You Change Your Mind
One More Revival
Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw
Waste Your Tears


All photographs were taken by the excellent Sean Larkin for our good friends at Midlands Rocks, reproduced with permission from the copyright holder.