The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
LIVE ASH The Rosemount Hotel Perth August 27 2013





Ash is one of those bands that elicit an immediate emotional response and you can feel it brewing in the crowd that begins to swell after second support The Emperors play their last and best song ‘”Be Ready When I say Go”. In truth its great set of, at times, inspiring Indie Rock, and the band too seem honoured to be part of the show. There’s laughter, there’s excited talk, and above all there’s a real sense of expectation as the piped music kicks in.


When Ash finally takes to the stage after an atmospheric opening tape (A T.I.E Fighter if I’m not mistaken Star Wars fans) it’s very much ‘game on’. And when Tim Wheeler, last to take stage, appears from the outside door and straps on his guitar all eyes are on the small Rosemount stage. “Lose Control” and “Goldfinger” are gone in a blur before the real big hit of “Girl From Mars” overwhelms everyone.   


It’s a show that has everything. That trademark Gibson Flying V that seems to be an extension of Tim wheeler’s body, those angular shapes that Mark Hamilton throws with his low-strung bass; while remaining emotionally distant facially; and those pounding drums. It’s all more than you would hope to expect. 1977 the album was written to be played live to a sweaty, effervescent and expectant capacity room, and tonight it is.




But as we all know anticipation is one thing, the reality often different, because as fine an album as 1977 was 17 years ago Wheeler and co breathe new life into almost every single song. Unlike most ‘classic album’ shows (that are merely a by-numbers run through a much cherished favourite by a band either out of ideas or ready to cash in) Ash manages to experiment, embellish and enhance what was obviously a very important album to everyone here tonight. It’s scarily like being there first time round but somehow better.


I know that the nineties is rather fashionable at the moment, but seriously it’s hard to recall a band putting on a show that galvanises a crowd so completely. Every song is mouthed or sung by almost everyone in here, and for some obviously too young to have been there first time round it’s an almost religious experience. The older heads just nod in a ‘told you so’ way but beam from ear to ear as each track lands, knowing the running order by heart just seems to add to the excitement.





Wheeler and co look like they’re enjoying themselves too and though largely unassuming the brevity of interaction outside the songs seems all the more heartfelt. There’s also an obvious reverence for the material that the band created when kids themselves. And that love came across when we spoke to Tim earlier in the year.





As the final notes of “Darkside Lightside” (another Star Wars reference) end most think it’s the end of 1977 but while there’s no “Cantina Band” (the B-Side of the the classic ‘Girl From Mars’) we do get “Jack Names the Planets” (only on the first release of the original CD of 1977) and “Punk Boy” (A Helen Love cover that appeared on the Collector’s Edition of the album).





 “A Life Less Ordinary” a non-album single from the rather dodgy film starring Cameron Diaz follows. It’s a great song and a constant live favourite.



So to end the great night there’s a smattering of ‘Greatest Hits’ including the staples “Shining Light” which for some, me included, was probably one of the real highlights tonight, and “Burn Baby Burn” from the Calling All Angels album. But prior to that closer we’re treated to “Orpheus” from the ‘Meltdown’ album and “Return of White Rabbit” from the more recent ‘A-Z Series’ release. Ash just never put a foot wrong and though of course there’s always more we would have loved to have heard (I won’t list them) this is an immensely satisfying night with a band I have wanted to see for years.


Ash tonight was simply irresistible and essential as always. Maybe even better than ever?



words and images by Mark Diggins



LIVE ASH The Rosemount Hotel Perth August 27 2013