Ash at the Forum
Ash were back at the Kentish Town Forum and they were on a mission to set the venue ablaze. Taking the stage after The Subways, Tim Wheeler entered wearing a white blazer and dark sunglasses, and the Northern Irish band opened their set with Like a God – a track from their latest album.
They followed with another new song, the eponymous Race the Night, infused with their trademark dazzling melodies. And then it was time for a few classics. Goldfinger is vintage Ash, and Wheeler played it with a true face-melting solo. The crescendo of energy continued with Angel Interceptor and climaxed with A Life Less Ordinary – which had the audience clapping to its mad beat
Usual Places is a wonderful highlight from their new record, its solo reminiscent of Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) by My Chemical Romance. Reward in Mind was up next and the frontman let his guitar play like a violent staccato
Killer track Orpheus – from their album Meltdown – featured drummer Rick McMurray launching into an extended solo and again we were in for a massive audience clap as bass player Mark Hamilton continued to grace the stage with his signature gymnastic moves. Confessions in the Pool – one of my absolute favourites from their more recent records – prompted everyone in the audience into a spontaneous foot tapping. In my view this song features hands-down the best middle-eight in Ash history
Shining Light – one of the band’s biggest singles – was sung with absolutely perfect vocals by Wheeler.
Three new songs were up next: Oslo, a slow and melancholic power ballad featuring a duet with singer Démira Jansen, and the upbeat Peanut Brain and Braindead. Just as the latter was playing I found myself thinking “This sounds a lot like an updated version of Kung Fu. I barely had time to finish my thought when the crowd erupted into screams as Ash launched into Kung Fu, followed by Girl from Mars which immediately had portions of the seated crowd – myself included, of course – up on our feet and dancing
The encore featured a surprise treat: The Subways joined Ash on stage and together they played the absolute classic Oh Yeah. Two drummers, two bass players and three singers. It was very powerful. The three-piece closed the night with Burn Baby Burn and at this point every single person was on their feet cheering and dancing along
Ash are back and every time they release a new record, every time they go on tour, they bring with them their incredible knack for melody, their ever-fresh sense of guitar and that injection of energy that puts a big grin on your face and makes it impossible to keep your feet still.
Photos: Mike Garnell
For further information and future events visit Ash’s website here.
Watch the video for Race the Night here: