This is was always going to be a special gig. The Islington Academy was buzzing from the moment German duo The Picture Books opened the night with their heady mix of raspy blues and caveman-like drumming and a good dollop of hair, sweat, hair and more sweat! Black Keys and White Stripes they are not, and thank f**k for that too.
The stage was set then, for Bad Touch to sweep us away with their swirling guitars and southern tinged vocals in a swagger similar to that of The Black Crowes. It's been a good two years since I last saw them, opening for The Quireboys and while they were an impressive band then, all members of the band have since matured an already commanding stage presence.
Having seen The Answer well and truly rock The Thekla two days before in Bristol, I knew the band were firing on all cylinders - but with an rapturous capacity crowd in attendance (including a 14 strong Hen Do!) the boys took it to another giddy level in Islington. A special guest appearance from Lynne Jackaman on 'Nowhere Freeway' made for an exceptional surprise in a set showcasing some of the songs off their NUMBER ONE album "Raise A Little Hell,' with long awaited airings of "Demon Eyes" and "Evil Man,' and I came close to feeling almost like I was amongst a Belfast crowd with the non stop 'choir'.
After a quick cool down, it was off to next door to the Academy 2 for the VIP aftershow party.
Broken Chords kicked things off, with a front man who gurned and strutted about the tiny stage like Wilko Johnson on go faster juice.
Then it was time for a stripped down acoustic set from The Answer. I've always loved the acoustic versions of the songs they have released, but hearing it live in such an intimate setting is another thing entirely. Again it was a mix of new songs and favourites such as Preachin' but it was newbie "Gone Too Long" that really stood out with emotion for me. A sublime end to a truly rocking night.
The Picture Books:
VIP Aftershow Party - Broken Chords
The Answer's Acoustic set :