Live Review: Ash @ Shepherds Bush Empire, 03/12/2015

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(Picture from @danny_randon)

 

I’ve blathered on before, on these pages, about how wonderful Ash are……and there’s no one going to stop me doing it again.

24 hours on from my first gig in just shy of a year (the shame, the shame) and, if I’m honest, the brilliance hasn’t really faded.

Of course, the best thing about seeing a band 20 years into their career is the welter of songs at their disposal. In the case of Ash, it’s an absurd back catalogue; there were 21 songs in their 90-odd minute set. You could probably put together another 20 song set that wouldn’t dip in quality.

Kicking off with the chant along  “Go! Fight! Win!” from Kablammo, the pace barely drops; barely letting the last chord finish, they launch into the classics “A Life Less Ordinary” and “Jack Names The Planets” It’s these older songs that really get the crowd moving; the reaction to the wonderful “Free”, and later on “Machinery” from Kablammo is muted. The reaction to “Kung Fu” is pandemonium, however, as a thousand odd people bounce to the pop-punk genius that hasn’t aged a day.

If there’s a disappointment, it’s that there’s nothing from either “Twilight of the Innocents” or the enjoyable “A-Z Collection” both of which seemed to have been more or less erased from Ash set lists over the years.

That said, it’s churlish to complain, the crowd pleasing finale is “Shining Light” and “Girl From Mars” two songs of ridiculous quality. Somehow, though, the 6 song encore tops this. They’d announced the day before that Charlotte Hatherley would be joining them on stage, and as they four rolled back on stage, they launched into a brilliant “Meltdown” chased by “Free All Angels” wonderful opener “Walking Barefoot” The real surprise was two songs from their much maligned sophomore LP “Nu-Clear Sounds” “Projects” & “Wildsurf” (arguably the two best songs on the album) and best of all, a cover of Weezer’s magical “Only In Dreams” which brought the house down.

They closed, as they usually do, with “Burn Baby Burn”. One last chance for the crowd to dance, and they take it. The foursome take the salute for the first time in four years. It’s a magical moment to end a fabulous evening.

 

Full set list:

 

  1. Go! Fight! Win!
  2. A Life Less Ordinary
  3. Jack Names The Planets
  4. Goldfinger
  5. Free
  6. Kung Fu
  7. Cocoon
  8. Angel Interceptor
  9. Let’s Ride
  10. Oh Yeah
  11. Orpheus
  12. Evel Knievel
  13. Machinery
  14. Shining Light
  15. Girl From Mars
  16. Meltdown
  17. Walking Barefoot
  18. Projects
  19. Wildsurf
  20. Only In Dreams
  21. Burn Baby Burn

 

 

 

 

 

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