Monday evening after a long weekend isn't usually the best time for a show, but tell that to those of us that rolled out to Slim's in San Francisco last night for the triumphant return of Northern Ireland's Ash. The quartet hadn't been in the Bay Area for about six months and hadn't headlined in the City By The Bay since their rammed gig last June at popscene, so the crowd had the fever for the flavor of, um, Ash. They would not leave disappointed.
Tim Wheeler and crew led the crowd through 80 minutes of old favorites with three newbies sprinkled in to reward those who traveled out after the long weekend of debauchery. A rather fine mood was in the air and Tim was all smiles, continually grinning and thanking the crowd. The set list was varied, with a fair chunk of 2002's Free All Angels represented ("Cherry Bomb," "Submission," and, "Walking Barefoot," as well as the kick-ass tag-team partnership of "Shining Light" and "Burn Baby Burn"). Fans of older Ash hits were not disappointed, as "Angel Interceptor," "Kung Fu," "Goldfinger," and the band's debut single, "Jack Names The Planets," all found their way through the amps. However, new material was unleashed as well, in the form of "Envy," the single released in time for last year's hits collection, currently available only on import, and three brand new songs, including the encore opener, which may or may not have been called "Morpheus," its intro mirroring Leftfield's "Phat Planet," before exploding into a rifftastic barnburner. By the time "Burn Baby Burn" brought down the house as the set closer, San Francisco's love affair with Ash had been greatly re-ignited.