The Answer / Bad Touch / Picture Books Hot

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The Answer / Bad Touch / Picture Books - Garage, Glasgow (UK) - 13th March 2015

In The Picture Books defence, I don't get this Rock duo thing. Yes, The White Stripes had their moments (few and far between) and I can appreciate why Royal Blood are making the crashing waves they are. However most duos are simply too one dimensional to make a serious impact and that's exactly where The Picture Books land. Guitarist/singer Flynn Claus Grabke certainly doesn't need introduced to hard, thick riffs, for he owns a mighty collection of them all to himself and drummer Philipp Mirtschink can hammer his drums for all their worth (and they looked quite expensive). Yet even as we clambered the stairs to catch up to the early start, the monotony was beginning to sink in. Mirtschink has a nice line in padded beaters and huge drumsticks, he has a ship's bell instead of any cymbals and he has triggers galore, making all manners of crashes, slashes and splashes. However in the end it simply sounded like he went smash, bash, smash, bash over and over in every song. By the end of the brief set there was more than a smattering of applause and nodding heads. For me though, this was the most bored I've been in front of a band for a very long time...

So thank the maker for Bad Touch. They come from Norfolk, their singer Stevie (they're so laid back, who needs a surname??) looks like some sort of dandy who's just departed the Three Musketeers and they play good old fashioned Rock n' Roll the UK way. What's not to like? Two bars into 'Waste My Time' and we knew we were in safe hands, the bass led groove from Bailey (man he can play!) lifting the whole room. From the off people had moved down the front and unlike myself it seemed these guys were old, loved, faces to some in the audience and as 'Mother Load' and 'Wise Water' (Rock n') Rolled by it was easy to hear why. As a group this lot are easy on the eye, shapes thrown at will, stage owned beyond question, as Rob G and Seeks threw out killer riff after killer riff.

However in Stevie (OK, his surname's Westwood) they have one of those frontmen where it's simply a challenge to peel your eyes from him. Add in a sparkling line in self deprecating humour and he really does entice you further under the Bad Touch spell. Drummer George brings a smooth line in beats n' backing vocals, proving one of the best singing drum pounders around; eagerly hammering home the groove at every opportunity. The way he also manages to sit just behind the beat on the slower numbers added an unexpected maturity to this young band's sound. Debut album title cut, 'Halfway Home' eagerly hit the spot, before 'Good On Me (Jeans Song)' - where Stevie explained that he (and he was sure, most of Glasgow's butch men) buy their jeans from the ladies sections... and 'New Day' brought an all too swift introduction to Bad Touch to an end. The only polite thing to do? Buy one of their shirts and beg for the chatty band to sign a newly purchased debut CD. Bad Touch? Dodgy name, great band!

Bad-Touch Live-Review

However the merch bagging happened after tonight's main event and if The Answer were even the tiniest bit phased at the prospect of following such a slick and well versed outfit, then it didn't show one iota. It seems that since their debut, every album The Answer has delivered has brought hope of it being the one to break them into the true big-time. However with their latest offering 'Raise A Little Hell', very little of that rhetoric has been heard, resulting in a band who look, feel and sound one hundred percent comfortable with where they find themselves. And boy did it show tonight. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure The Answer ever do bad shows, but tonight seemed to bring things to a new level, singer Cormac Neeson feeding off and bantering with the crowd, while guitarist Paul Mahon was much more to the forefront, constantly egging the band on to work harder and harder to bring the energy and focus their music deserves. Keen to showcase their just released and thoroughly excellent 'Raise A Little Hell' album, 'I Am What I Am' and 'Red' set the tone for a night rammed with songs that simply insisted you move and groove. However in 'Aristocrat' The Answer show their roots, a huge Zeppelin riff bounding from the stage and almost knocking the crowd sideways, as drummer James Heatley came close to splitting the stage, such was the ferocity with which his drums were attacked.

Bassist Micky Waters wasn't to be outdone though, his solid four string work the backbone of the band, while his backing vocals are an unsung highlight of The Answer's onstage performance. Old favourites, 'Spectacular' (which the early appearance of, really snared the audience from the off), 'Into The Gutter' and the chest beating 'New Horizon' joyfully plundered the band's back catalogue to stunning effect, although the loudest ovation of the whole night was reserved for new track, 'Last Days Of Summer'. It's unusual for a slow, acoustic led number to entice such excitement, but the force and emotion with which it was revealed was quite breathtaking. It also illustrated just how talented a singer Cormac is whether belting out anthems or adding a more intimate air to proceedings. 'Raise A Little Helll' closed the main set, Cormac having gone through the traditional ritual of entering the crowd and asking them to kneel with him and praise the power that is Rock n' Roll, before 'Evilman' and the online fan poll winning song 'Nowhere Freeway' raised the roof one final time. Coming almost halfway through an extensive UK and Ireland tour, it would be fair to suggest that Glasgow found this band at the height of their powers and no one left in any doubt that no matter the question, this band have The Answer.

Steve Swift

The-Answer-2015 Rocktopia-Live-Review

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