Answer 1Resize@ Newcastle o2 Academy, November 28 2009

In the build up to this hotly anticipated gig it was a case of more questions than answers. Would a band out on the road with AC/DC for the best part of a year still have the hunger and stamina to make a success of their long awaited UK headline tour?

How would Everyday Demons come across live? And have one of 2008’s brightest prospects turned potential into star quality under the watchful eye of Brian Johnson and co.?

So many questions and only one Answer. But what a convincing Answer it was.

On the subject of star quality, easy going frontman Cormac Neeson has had it from day one. The day the band’s Keep Believin’ EP first landed was the day rock fans everywhere identified a great British vocalist in the mould of Rodgers, Coverdale and the rest. Skinny as a rake but with a voice as strong as a siren, Neeson is the frenetic focal point every aspiring band needs and tonight the bloke was on fire.

In fact The Answer didn’t appear jaded just two weeks after stepping off the plane from their latest US jaunt with the biggest rock and roll band on the planet. Far from it. Energy abounded from drummer James, bass man Micky and the irrepresible Paul Mahon. During the guitarist’s brief but brilliant solo spot he looked, and more importantly sounded, like a young Nuno Bettencourt on the cusp of breaking into one of Extreme’s bluesier numbers. Exquisite stuff.

As for the new material from Everyday Demons? Live it takes on a life of its own and never more so than when Neeson belts out Cry Out with the raw emotion of a man who truly believes in the music he makes. In years to come this song will stand the test of time as a genuine Answer classic with its appealing chorus and outstanding riff. Why’d You Change Your Mind allowed Neeson to deliver the vocal performance of the night and On And On is an impossibly catchy retro anthem.

Quite at home on the Academy’s main stage the band were, nevertheless, unable to pull in a capacity crowd like Black Stone Cherry before them. Both acts are on a par in terms of commercial appeal and classic rock cool but the southern rockers have many more UK gigs under their belts in recent months. There is a downside to performing on the AC/DC undercard and failing to sell out venues which should be full to bursting is one side effect from spending so long away.

At least The Answer are genuinely excited to be back and this homecoming gig swiftly became a classic. Barely able to contain his excitement at making the ‘big room’ Neeson never let up. Mahon has morphed into a truly world class axeman and for as long as this duo front a band responsible for singalong gems such as Never Too Late and the Lizzy-alike Tonight the future of rock is in the safest of hands.

Keep Believin’? You bet.