Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review: Ash live at Whelan's 6-6-2011

Ash popped their Whelan's cherry and the audiences ears, in a tour-de-force performance that showed they are still top dogs of Irish Rock N' Roll, 17 years after the release of their debut Trailor.

A sold out crowd were impressed by Northern Ireland grunge revivalist LaFaro's mix of "Moist Vagina" style Nirvana. Kyuss, Screaming Trees, and Mudhoney. It is easy to see why LaFaro are hailed as the next big thing to come out of Northern Ireland.  As they deliver memorable riff after riff. LaFaro are let down on the night however, by the sound,with the vocals barely audible at times.   

Ash were joined by LaFaro’s drummer Alan Lynn. filling in for drummer Rick McMurray, whose girlfriend is in labour.  And maybe LaFaro and McMurray should be worried such is the quality of Lynn's performance on the night.

Ash lay down a statement of intent with frenetic opening track Loose ControlTim Wheeler clearly means business.  Putting his all into the, at times considerable guitar work.  His voice is also in top form throughout the evening.  While bassist Mark Hamilton puts his base into, what can only be described as Kama Sutra, style positions. Which get stranger and stranger as the night progresses.

Ewan McGregor movie theme tune A Life Less Ordinary proves that whilst Ash, may desire a second guitar player, they throughly don't need one.  The song is better live than the recorded version.  Those at the back may have wondered what Wheeler was laughing at, towards the end of the song.  He dropped his plectrum while throwing a rockstar shape.

"We normally play this at the end, tonight's an experiment" says Wheeler, referring to Twilight of The Innocents. A mix of sampled and live drums combine well with synth backing tracks, as the song slowly builds to the repeated chorus of "I'm still breathing, my hearts still beating" the vocal highlight so far.  The crowd sing along and moshing ensues during Girl From Mars and Goldfinger.  While a full on pit, erupts during Petrol.

Tim Wheeler, lets the crowd takeover singing duties on Walking Barefoot and once again on Oh Yeah which was notable for two reasons. It featured a great solo by Wheeler and secondly it gave a masterclass, in how to execute a false/double ending in a song.  A must have skill for any band.

Ash classic Kung Foo sends the crowd into overdrive and crowd surfing follows on The Dead Disciples. By this stage, even a love song like Shining Light sees legs flying over head. Return of The White Rabbit closes the first section of the show. Its is not only the highlight of the songs that feature samples.  It is the highlight of the night as a whole.  Underpinned by a dirty bass riff.  A swirling mix of Kasabian and Nine Inch Nails influences, combine to create a disco metal classic, with an excellent chorus "Is this the end of the line my friend I don't wanna know I don't wanna to go"

Ash return for a four song encore of Arcadia, Jack Names The Planets and Angel Interceptor with Burn Baby Burn the highlight.  By now the crowd has gone so wild, that the front row falls onto the stage, in a heap of limbs, as the final note sounds.  Ash are quick to make sure the those on the stage are ok, and discomfort quickly turns into elation, as its hugs and handshakes between Ash and fans.

We don't normally do marks out of ten but in this case we would have to go with 12. Even though we experienced hearing loss for several days. Thanks Tim.

Live Photo by Kieran Frost.

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