Newcastle rocker to play live gig

Newcastle rocker to play live gig

7 April 2021

CORMAC Neeson, the lead singer of local band The Answer, will perform this in a live streamed concert from Portaferry’s Portico venue.

It’s a welcome return to concert performances for the musician who, like many others, has not been able to play in front of a live audience due to the pandemic.

He will be performing as a solo artist alongside his good friend, Donal Scullion, and he promises a lively mixture of songs from his 2019 debut solo country album, White Feather, and hits from The Answer.

“I will be stepping up with my acoustic guitar and stamp box while Donal will be rolling in with the very many instruments he plays,” the Newcastle man told the Recorder about this Saturday’s gig, which starts at 7.30pm.

“It will be more than a one man and his guitar show and it’s a chance for me to reinterpret some of the tracks from White Feather and a few of The Answer tracks and hopefully present them in an interesting and engaging way.

“There will be a bunch of new songs as well as one of the benefits of lockdown is having the time  to sit down and write.”

It will be an intimate look at the artist as during the interval, he will be interviewed about his work with the audience being able to submit advance questions.

Cormac says he’s really looking forward as he has spent the last year performing on his own.

He’s been busy playing every week online with Co Down musician Matt McGinn and friends on the Cocoons live platform, often including musicians from the Irish Republic, England and friends from Nashville. It’s based on the “songwriters in the round” concept where each musician plays before introducing to the other.

“I’ve played nearly 52 weeks every weekend on the Cocoons platform with Matt. It’s been a great outlet for the need in me to play and perform, but aside from that there was a bunch of other gigs.

“At the beginning of lockdown last March, there was a real flourish of online gigs along with a lot of fund-raising gigs. There’s been good causes behind the online gigs and Cocoon does a different charity every week. Last weekend we raised just over £2,000 for Mencap NI.

“You’ve got to deal with what’s in front of you as a musician. While I wouldn’t trade the online platform for doing it for real, it has been a priceless platform to continue to stay sharp and keep writing songs and not forgetting about that adrenalin rush you get when you are performing”.

Cormac says Cocoons has built up a great “community of musicians and online audience of fans”.

“There’s often two brand new artists being introduced each week and they can be from anywhere in the world,” he explained. “Only last Saturday we had Brian Kennedy play in Dublin, then it came to me in Belfast and we went to LA for Ricky Warwick, and then back to Belfast for 17 year-old Roisin McHugh.”

Like many other musicians, Cormac had a busy year planned for 2020 with two different tours and multiple summer festivals lined up.

He was about to release a single from White Feather, his album which charted at number 4 in the UK national Country Rock album charts.

“I had to cancel two full tours, and who knows what else would have been in the pipeline, so quite a bit of work was lost,” said Cormac.

“Last March I was still rehearsing for my first solo tour around UK and Ireland. I had another tour planned for last autumn, which would have also taken me around Europe as well but that fell by the wayside due to Covid.

“I don’t give it too much thought now as it happened. To be honest, I’ve been pretty lucky as there’s people who’ve lost a lot more than me. I’ve had plenty to do online and I’ve done session work online. I also work with a college in Dublin and I’ve doing a lot of vocal coaching on my Facebook page.”

The father of six year-old son Dabhóg and two year-old Conall, Cormac has enjoyed his time at home as a “massive positive”, although he admits: “I’m looking forward to getting a weekend without the kids.”

Cormac has promises that there’s some good things ahead for The Answer fans.

“Once things get back to normal, I will be touring solo again but I’ve been in regular contact with the boys from The Answer about our next steps so it’s all positive.

“But I will also release a few new singles myself as there’s a few whispers of festivals being held this summer.”

The Portico concert is being presented by partnership with Portico and Ards and North Down Borough Council.

Tickets cost £15 per device and are on sale now at:’s Vocal Coaching and Cocoons live music platform can be found on Facebook.