As our good friend Matt DuFour elaborated on the great band that are The Coldplays and their special relationship with the city of Chicago last week, I decided it would only be fair to highlight the somewhat equal but less assuming upward trajectory being taken on by their support band, Ash, who, fresh from launching an Intergalactic hits album in most other territories, were continuing their melodic assault on the ears of middle America.
It's never easy opening for a band with the sort of cult-cum-mainstream popularity that Coldplay enjoy, and one would imagine less so in a half empty college basketball arena. Nevertheless, the Northern Irish quartet, who possess an inability not to tour constantly (which must please US label Kinetic), took the stage amongst rapturous reception (which is bizarre; either everyone in the crowd had broken legs and that's why they were screaming or they just don't know how to dance to loud power-pop music) and hammered the gathered masses with a bit of hardcore "Goldfinger," "Girl From Mars" and "Jesus Says." NOT a bad opening salvo.
As you'd almost come to expect from a band possessing the sort of back catalogue that Ash do (again unusual for your typical 45-minute-set opening band), what proceeded would have been probably orgasmic to a European audience, with Ash ripping through hits like I used to rip out pages of my 8th grade geometry book. After taking the time and consideration to showcase "Folk Song" (from '98s Nu-Clear Sounds set, the track that was sandwiched in between all the singles) and debut latest UK single "Envy" for American ears, Tim & co. thanked the crowd (presumably for letting them implode the whole of the first section's eardrums with THAT riff off of "Kung Fu") and let rip a riotous version of current American single "Burn Baby Burn." And with that, they were gone.
Later on in the night, Mr. Wheeler returned for a special rendition of forthcoming UK single "The Scientist" with the boys from Coldplay, but even if he hadn't, his band had already made a stunning contribution to what (if you read Mr. DuFour's review) turned out to be a sublimely magical evening in the UIC Pavilion.
Source: Josh Kahn, Guest Reviewer