08.22.13 @ Corner Hotel, Melbourne, AUS
Returning to Australia for the first time in years, Ireland alterna-rockers Ash turned the clock back at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel to play their acclaimed album, 1977, in its entirety. Not only were the band in exceptionally fine form, but the crowd, who looked like they were at the last Ash show (quite possibly on the original 1977 tour in 1996), were the most pleasant, down to earth and collected group of people I’ve seen at a show in years.
It was refreshing to say the least.
Racing through 1977, Ash proved that while they’ve been at it since the band members were 19, they were still as energetic and compact as they’ve ever been. Stand outs through the initial set were of course the Ash staples; “Girl From Mars” (still fantastic), “Angel Interceptor” and “Kung Fu”. Tim Wheeler was as unpretentious a rock star to have graced a stage in recent years as his genuine gratitude and enjoyment was evident through the set. With minimal banter between songs, there was little selling of merchandise or aggravating self importance, instead the band knew why they, and we, were there- to enjoy a great album from back to front.
As the band closed the album set, they wrapped up the pre-encore show with the terrific “Jack Names The Planets” and “A Life Less Ordinary”, before heading off for a quick break. The band returned to the appreciative crowd to close the night on Ash favourites from Free All Angels including “Walking Barefoot”, “Shining Light” and the terrific closer of the evening, “Burn Baby Burn”.
A tight and terrific hour and a half, Ash are a reminder of an era of music far removed from today’s YouTube generation. While it’s been years since 1977 and years since Ash’s brand of music graced the airwaves on a contemporary basis, the band are still as relevant and impactful today. Best of all? The crowd was almost all dickhead/hipster free.