Ash at Whelan’s – Review and Photos

Ash Olympia Theatre 15 December

Ash Whelans Photos Review

Downpatrick’s finest guitar pop trio are once again back in Dublin, this time supporting their latest release,  Kablammo! Ash are always a treat to see live, renowned for their explosive energy on stage and impressive back catalogue of timeless tunes. Tonight’s show is sold out, which is no great surprise considering the fantastic reception their new release has picked up.

With no support, Ash emerge gloriously onstage and launch straight into the searing instrumental, ’Evel Knievel’, showcasing Tim Wheeler’s hot guitar work from the very start. The band waste no time in flying through tunes old and new like there’s no tomorrow. Latest single, ‘Cocoon’ and the riff-tastic ‘Go! Fight! Win!’ go down a storm and are delivered amongst classic tracks, such as, ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ and the band’s first single, ‘Jack Names The Planets’.

After about five songs, ever youthful singer and axe man, Tim Wheeler greets the crowd with a wide grin and a cheeky fist in the air. He explains that the band plan to play some music from all of the eight albums they have released, much to the crowd’s delight. We are treated to a rare performance of the 1998 banger, ‘Wildsurf’, which is sung along with glee by all. Explosive renditions of ‘Kung fu’ and ‘Oh Yeah’ are lapped up by the audience, who nearly drown out the band with their lovely backing vocals. The back catalogue that Ash boast is simply mind boggling.

With the band clearly on cloud nine with how well the gig has gone thus far, they give into one lucky fan’s desperate pleas for 1996 classic, ‘Angel Interceptor’, which was due to be left off the setlist and dedicate it to him. As the audience sing their hearts out, it becomes clear that this is a very special gig. To see a band captivate a crowd in such an intimate venue so convincingly is rare and it’s a pleasure to be part of it. More golden oldies such as ‘Orpheus’ and ‘Arcadia’ raise the roof, before the band amazingly oblige yet another song request in the form of ‘Walking Barefoot’. Wheeler simply smiles and says that this crowd “can have whatever they want” before diving, yet again, into a perfect performance.

At this point, the front row of people are practically being thrown onto the stage by the amount of moshing and the band’s 2001 magnum opus, ‘Shining Light’, certainly doesn’t quieten matters. Having already performed some twenty songs, yet another crowd request is obliged with ‘Petrol’, before new track ‘Machinery’. The quintessential teen anthem, ‘Girl From Mars’ closes the set. Hardly one minute passes before the band arrive back onstage, with the crowd cheering and singing the chorus from ‘Oh Yeah’ with passion.

One desperate fan shouts for four more tunes, which the frontman clearly relishes the thought of, so agrees. After an epic seven minute version of 2007’s ‘Twilight of the Innocents’, the band power through a cover of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ before finishing once and for all with power pop classic, ‘Burn Baby Burn’. Having reached curfew, a twenty six song set will have to do.

Ash delivered the performance of their lives here and clearly poured everything they had into winning this crowd over. After two hours of non stop guitar pop gems, the crowd reluctantly leaves what is likely to be the gig of the year. With over 20 years of Ash behind us, we can only pray they don’t stop anytime soon.

Review by Finn O’Reilly
Photos by Ricardo Guglielminotti


Lucy Ivan

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