If there is a nicer band on the planet than Ash then I sure as hell havenít met them. How any band that is, arguably, one of the five biggest rock bands in their home country can come to the US and be as humble and charismatic and engaging as this Northern Irish quartet is beyond me. These are the coolest kids on the planet and they have six pocketfuls of tunes to match. Although they sat there and discussed the World Cup, up and coming bands in London and many other intriguing subjects, it was their music that won the hearts of the crowd at popscene in San Francisco last night, and itís the music that should slay the rest of country shortly.
The four-piece hit the stage a bit late, but as the delay was due to ensuring more of their fans were able to see their gig at the venue easily 1/5 the size they should have been playing, it was surely bearable: once the band kicked into ìLose Control,î all lost time was forgotten. The bassiriffic ìSubmissionî followed and the packed house was theirs. Other standout tracks included ìGoldfinger,î ìJesus Says,î and ìCherry Bomb.î Two of the most anticipated songs of the night, both from the pending Free All Angels, ìShining Lightî and the stellar single ìBurn Baby Burnî (which the band now plays as the radio edit sounds, versus the originally recorded version, which is highly amusing in and of itself), were better than could be expected, the assembled throng pulsing and throbbing in unison. By the time the three closing jams were dropped, 1977ís ìKung Fu,î the soundtrack number ìA Life Less Ordinaryî and second ever single ìPetrol,î the roof was dripping with sweat and the crowd was at a frenzy. Amazingly, Ash returned to the stage to fire into their first ever single, the blistering ìJack Names the Planetsî and followed it up with their favorite Weezer cover, ìOnly In Dreams.î The unbelievably tight show was wrapped with ìNumbskull,î frontman Tim Wheeler and fellow guitarist Charlotte Hatherley engaged in intertwined, almost serpentine guitar play during the solo. An amazing gig. This band brings it in a major way and if they play in your town and you donít manage make it out, your only excuse is that you merely have no pulse.
Ash's set list last night at popscene:
Burn Baby Burn
Girl From Mars
A Life Less Ordinary
Jack Names The Planets
Only In Dreams