It was many years ago during my teens that I’d started listening to Ash, yet another band that no one else a) was interested in or b) had heard of, but here in 2016 it was finally time to see Ash live…for the first time.
Never too early to give the whammy bar a good workout or the drums a good thrashing, Flyying Colours were ready to bring lashings of shoegaze fuzz to a waiting crowd. The music, including a few new numbers from impressed (the hook-loaded Not Today and sweet newbie Mellow were particularly good), but maybe not as much as drummer Andy Russell’s new hairdo winning a few cheers from some admirers.
As far as Ash, it was a bit of a momentous occasion – the first Ash show of the year, 20 years on from first playing The Corner. Sure, it was an opportunity to hear some older numbers, basking in the indie rock sounds of the late 90’s and early 2000’s with the melodic sounds of A Life Less Ordinary and Wildsurf early on. For the most part it seemed to be a bit of a Tim Wheeler + band affair, but it seems to work.
But the new tunes had to be played from Kablammo! – the album that wasn’t really supposed to be made after Ash declared that they wouldn’t record one again following Twilight of The Innocents. But things change, and thankfully they did given the new found gusto that sits behind the new release, taking on old Ash sounds in a more refined, mature form. It comes through on stage too, Free and a feverish Cocoon were standouts.
That didn’t stop the singing along to Oh Yeah and Shining Light, or random comments shouted amongst fans in the crowd reminiscing about albums and songs. And what’s an Ash show going to be without Girl From Mars? Another hour and a few other favourites probably would have made the cut, but wrapping up with Burn Baby Burn was a fair settlement to the evening’s proceedings.