With all this electro-tinged robot-rock doing the rounds – where the guitar is likely to start suddenly sounding like a chimp screaming backwards – it was a refreshing change to bust on down to “The Cyprus Avenue” and see some hard-toured blues and rock played well in front of an enthusiastic crowd. People were down and front from early on to see eager young things SKAM pout and gurn through their admittedly forgettable but nevertheless up-for-it rock ‘n’ roll. All guitar lifts and long drawn out rock endings, it was an appropriate warm-up and people seemed to be on their side…even if the frontman did seem a bit clingy. “Please check us out on Facebook” is not a rock ‘n’ roll way to finish your set, I’m afraid. If you must ask that, at least scream it and pull on your crotch at the same time.
With one hot SUCK I had the pint skulled and the changeover was complete. A bigger drumkit with a bigger logo: The Union. Formed by ex Thunder guitarist Luke Morley, The Union got together in 2009 and comprise four very talented and seasoned musicians. Musically they flit from riff-heavy rock to charming bluesy ballads, with surprisingly accomplished backing vocals. Set wise it’s a bit all over the place but the experience is there and the band are tight as a nut. The main attraction however is vocalist Pete Shoulder. Soulful, meaty vocals – he is a sublime singer and one of those musicians that reminds you how much everyone else really fucking sucks. These older dudes made it look very, very easy. For any and all classic rock fans: I give it my BIG THUMB.
What can you say about The Answer, they work very very hard. Looking at their touring schedule, they are all over the US and Europe all year long. And, happily, they really don’t seem to be phoning it in. Arriving to an ecstatic reception and more than a smattering of The Answer shirts, things kick off and singer Cormac Neeson is like Cousin It being electrified. He is a blur of hair and handclaps and smiles for the whole show, and it’s soon easy to see the charm behind this band. Super-tight and loving it, their lunatic touring commitments are obviously paying dividends. People wonder how this boogie/blues tinged classic rock is still going after decades upon decades and is still seemingly as popular as ever. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a guy who puts a contact mike up his bum and sings “Amhrán na bhFiann” in a disused cinema, this isn’t the gig for you. It’s classic rock and you’ve heard it before – everyone has. But it’s down to the delivery. Get up, turn up and pull a face when you bend the high notes. Sure it’s simple!
Photos by Barry English
Gallery photos: Bríd O’Donovan