The Answering Machine – Another Day Another Gig in New York

By Live4ever - Posted on 22 Nov 2009 at 11:47pm



Live4ever was excited to spend some quality time with the member’s of Manchester’s finest “The Answering Machine” during their recent lengthy stay in the big Apple. The Brit Pop foursome was here for the 2009 CMJ music marathon and a 3 week residency at one of Brooklyn’s popular indie music venues Coco66. I was already hooked before seeing them live thanks to NME radio’s DJ Chris Martin who had added the band’s catchy single ‘Cliffer‘ to his always entertaining play list. The station, luckily available online, is a great music source of all things British over here in the States. To see “The Answering Machine” on the lengthy list of over 1000 participating bands at CMJ this year was a  treat I was looking forward to and a welcome surprise.

It’s a cool and rainy Saturday and my producer Michael and I decide to take shelter in the lobby of the ultra hip Hotel Ace in midtown Manhattan. We are going to see “The Answering Machine” at the Alphabet Lounge on the lower East Side a bit later in the day. The Ace is hopping with excitement as Fader magazine is host to a show case featuring “Florence and the Machine” downstairs at the Hotel’s Liberty Hall performance space. Mark Ronson is in the building , or so we hear , as we never get to see him in person. Too much going on anyway and my partner and I are here to discuss further bands of interest such as Coventry’s Brit rockers ‘Pint Shot Riot‘ . We’re going over the credits on the back of their single sleeve “Come Back to Me” as Florence walks past our seats, wow you surely can’t miss the stunning tall red head. Her little entourage whisks her off to a group of sofas closer to the lobby bar. I guess that’s where all the label big wigs are hanging out. A many Stellas later we venture out on to 5th Ave during a torrential down pour unsuccessfully hailing cabs for 20 mins, at this rate we were going to miss most of the band’s set we were so looking forward to. Finally, we make a sprint to a cab on the other side of the avenue and make our way, wet but hopeful, down to the Alphabet Lounge.


Cliffer: Video for the first single taken from The Answering Machine’s debut album ‘Another City, Another Sorry’.

Well, we do make it on time for the final three songs – what  a strange place to have a CMJ gig , the stage platform has a waste high railing , keeping the band imprisoned to a very tight space. Looks almost uncomfortable at times. As the Mancunians end their set with one of their singles “Obviously Cold” off their debut album “Another City , Another Sorry” I couldn’t agree more, my wet clothes in an air-conditioned bar (the 2 bartenders were wearing sweaters) weren’t helping any. I scan the room for their acting tour manager Mick Scholefield , owner of  Heist or Hit Records to which the band are signed . It’s gotta be the  gentleman, putting in double time as roadie, carrying the guitar cases off stage?  I introduce my self and Mick,  who was in touch with us prior to the show via email, shakes our hands with a big smile. After a brief chat the  band and their equipment van was off to their temporary Brooklyn headquarters . As I later found out the band’s  bassist – Gemma Evans was still fighting signs of the flue and in need of some well deserved rest. We still had many more weeks of gigs and encounters with the band ahead of us.


The Answering Machine’s new single “Obviously Cold” from Heist or Hit Records

A week later we find ourselves walking past sport bars  bursting with excitement as the Yankee’s are about to clinch the world series against the Phillies.  A short subway ride has brought us to the Green Point section of Brooklyn where the The Answering Machine are performing their first show at Coco66. We can’t resist and stop to catch innings 4 and 5 at the local sports pub on the corner, it’s looking good for the Yankees and we can leave with calmed nerves as we head up the block where the bartender at the “TV- less” coco66 nervously asks us for the score. We’re not quite sure she likes the news – as it turns out her boyfriend is from Philly….

We were finally going to catch our first full set with the band that reminds me of UK’s Franz Ferdinand , The Pigeon Detectives , and The Libertines with perhaps a  little bit of American alt rockers Jimmy Eat World’s guitar work mixed in , the latter especially noticeable  in their stellar pop rocker “Cliffer“. Martin Colclough (Vocals, Guitar) Pat Fogarty (Guitar, Backing Vocals) Gemma Evans (Bass, Backing Vocals) and newest member Ben Perry (Drums, Glockenspiel) do not disappoint. Their live show has me bobbing my head to their catchy guitar hooks and Gemma’s tight bass lines supported by Ben,the man who put their former drum machine ( Mustafa Beat) out of a job. Martin and Pat’s non flashy Libertines-esque guitar work top off a perfect 30 minutes of Brit Pop.

I approach Gemma after the show for a quick chat and find out that she’s finally feeling a lot better. We somehow get on the topic of sports , football (the one they call soccer over here) to be precise, and Gemma tells me that she’s not particularly fond of it, too much hooliganism going around she adds. I change the subject as there are hoots and hollers coming from the front of the venue signaling the end of the Yankees game. Gemma doesn’t quite get all the Baseball rules yet and she finds it a bit of a boring sport but confides in having a proper throwing arm herself. She recalls practicing for a game of Rounders with her dad once, which I’m told is similar to Baseball, and as she threw the ball “it ended up going straight through our backyard’s wooden picket fence” she explains with a big smile. Martin , Pat and Ben join in on the conversation which soon shifts over to one of my favorite music subjects and huge hobby of mine : Oasis. As any true Oasis fan will know you”ll eventually end up discussing the band’s massive B-Sides catalogue agreeing that they all deserved to be made A sides , because that’s just how good they are. Martin, who hails from Burnage, which is the hometown of Oasis , proudly tells me that Mister Sifter, who is referenced in the band’s hit Shakermaker, actually does exist and has sold him a vinyl or two at the record store!

We would see the band at two more live shows over the course of their New York visit and meet them for a sit down interview – we had become addicted to their infectious Brit pop extravaganza. Click the play button on the vimeo player above and find out how it all got started, what the band think of touring in the US and meeting American fans, why they think Brooklyn bands have such a following in the UK and much much more. The band is currently back in the UK playing some hometown shows followed by a trip to Japan and returning to the States in the late winter for more shows that we most definitely will be front row for. Do yourselves a favor and catch them live in a city near you!



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