Ash at Scala | Live review

Merciless signs of the passing of time may be showing on their faces, but their spirits haven’t been affected – as Tim Wheeler cared to remind, Ash have been performing for twenty-one years and last Thursday’s gig proved that the band still has the energy to lead a Teenage Wildlife.

Die-hard fans and recent recruits alike flocked to Scala to express either their unconditioned love or their newborn enthusiasm and Ash didn’t disappoint them.

Apart from a few technical glitches, the concert was impressive, a special occasion to celebrate and commemorate several events. Starting with the bluesy instrumental Evel Knievel, the gig was first of all a warm-up to introduce and promote the latest record Kablammo!
The show however was a mix of new material and old repertoire. Understandably, yet unheard-of tracks like the blasting Cocoon or Go! Fight! Win! received a generally positive response, but Ash were more successful when playing familiar tunes.

Curiously, the audience was literally divided in two factions – one keener on creating mosh pits during the execution of harder-edged, faster-paced, old-time favourites such as Kung Fu, the other equally enjoying the show but keeping a more composed attitude no matter which mood the songs provided. Only Goldfinger, whose performance was unanimously wholeheartedly welcomed, saw a little rift when someone attempted body surfing not realising he was on the “wrong” side, ending up being ruthlessly shun and pushed to the floor, luckily without consequences.

A second reason for celebration was drummer Rick McMurray’s wedding, which had taken place the day before and was cause for banter between the band members and the fans – Wheeler and McMurray made jokes about marriage life and “inappropriately” playing “emotional break-up songs”. A remarkable live rendition of Moondust gave the (otherwise slightly tedious) track a different status, a cinematic atmosphere that made it suitable for the soundtrack of a cosmic-themed movie.

Renowned for their fascination with astronomy-related things, the band also took the chance to pay homage to Christopher Lee – who acted in some of the Star Wars instalments and passed away a few days ago – dedicating Evil Eye to his memory.

Just when it seemed like they couldn’t do better, Ash definitively brought the venue down with a powerful performance of career staples Walking Barefoot, Girl From Mars and Burn, Baby, Burn – which closed the gig.

It’s a safe bet to say the band has passed the test of time and their future is brighter than ever.

Verdict: •••••

For further information on Ash and future gigs, visit here.

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