DEAD DAISIES, The Answer, Jackaman @Academy 2, Birmingham 19/11/16


Dead Daises continue their rise, The Answer begin their renaissance 

Lynne Jackaman might be unplugged here, but she’s in feisty mood. Dedicating “Nobody’s Fault (But Yours)” to “an arsehole” is a theme she returns to a little later when she plays “Wasted” from her debut solo EP to “the ladies who are here with an arsehole.” Whoever has upset her is open to question, but her next album could be cathartic…. Jackaman, though has always had the talent to do pretty much whatever she wanted in the melding of rock, blues and soul, and as she proved at the Stone Free Festival earlier this year, her new band is a talented bunch. Here as a duo, the classic nature of these songs means they work this way too. “Sooner Or Later” is soulful, and “You Can’t Take Back” is a fitting conclusion. A few years ago MV was in this very room watching Lynne Jackaman’s then band St Jude deliver a stunning performance. Hopefully with this new venture she can reach those heights again.

The Answer’s latest album, “Solus” felt like a rebirth for them. That feeling still remains after watching them here. One of UK rock’s most enduring outfits, they enter their second decade in a more positive mindset, perhaps, than they’ve been  in for a while. The co-headline status of this means they get a full set, and they use it to play most of the new record. Kicking things off with the title track, then its single “Beautiful World” , they overcome early sound issues (singer Cormac is inaudible initially) to deliver a display that is everything we’ve come to expect from them – even if the music isn’t. Sonically it is a very different band that is before us now, and even the older material they sparingly play, seems to have a message. “New Horizon” always saw them reaching for something, “Spectacular” always felt like a reminder to themselves – they still do. The new stuff is shot through with such passion that it carries over. “Untrue Colour” is perhaps the most immediate of them,   while “Demon Driven Man” has some fine guitar from Paul Mahon at its centrepiece and “In This Land” is a homage to the buskers in the pubs in their native Northern Ireland. In between tonight’s opener pops in to reprise her part on “Nowhere Freeway” and “Demon Eyes” proves it is just a stone cold brilliant song. This is a brave set. Nothing  from debut album “Rise” is a surprise, but you get the feeling they had to do this. As Cormac explains before “Battle Cry”, they were in a bad place before making “Solus”. If this is the first steps on their journey to redemption, then The Answer must be applauded.

The Dead Daisies might not be a conventional band  – multi millionaires don’t often from rock n roll bands in their late 50s and set about recruiting top talent to join them – but there is something charmingly old-school about how they do it. Touring constantly, grabbing fans as bands used to, this is now their third sell-out gig in this area  in just under a year. This version of DD is the best too. The addition  of Doug Aldrich on guitar means he is now the perfect flamboyant showman to founder David Lowy’s rhythm, while John Corabi and ex Thin Lizzy bass man Marco Mendoza are almost co-frontmen these. The songs  have got better as well. This summer they stuck out the stellar “Make Some Noise” and it is worth shouting about too. The songs they play from it, notably the superb “Song And A Prayer” and “Last Time I Saw The Sun” showcase a hard rock band that is brimming with ideas. It also helps that they look like they are having fun onstage, especially on the heads-down rocking out Aerosmith-type strut of “Mainline”. Songs from all their albums, “Lock And Loud” – the debut’s one standout cut, and “Mexico” from its follow up both worthy inclusions here. There’s still arguably too many covers, but “Fortunate Son” is almost the perfect song, and as such is always great to hear and they have made “Helter Skelter” their own.

It is with another cover that things end. “Midnight Moses” but right before it, in refusing an encore, Corabi hits the nail on the head. “We could go off like rock star jerkoffs, and come back on when you make lots of noise. How about you make lots of noise and we stay on?”

That’s why both the main bands here are very much bands of the people, and that’s why both continue to hold such a special place with everyone here in the sell-out crowd.

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