Oh Yeah!

Ash, The Dead 60’s @ Bristol Academy, Bristol
21st October 2007

For the first time in a long while I ventured out of the realm of the London circuit for a gig. I was away for the weekend visiting Anna sampling the Bristolian Westcountry life of Bridges and Cider. Anna, it’s fair to say, not a big gig goer…So where better to start than tonight! Not to stray too far into unknown territory though, this show was based at one of the numerous Carling Academy’s stretched throughout the land. As with Brixton this is a very cool venue, alot smaller than its London counterpart it has superb view, really intimate yet can attract a sizable crowd! This is most definitely a great place for live music!

Opening the evening were The Dodgems. Their sound is akin to many other northern bands of now, but yet they seemed to have the glimmer of a spark which hopefully, will turn into a fully fledged fire. Their tracks were bouncy and never short of some inventive, catchy riffs. Vocals may have been a bit lacking, but lets hope that these dudes continue to ply their trade and hit the airwaves soon!

So for anyone who has been keeping up to date on all the bands I’ve seen this year via these review, you will obviously know that the next band to grace stage would be the 100th show of 2007 (What? …you didn’t). Taking the accolade of this epic milestone was ska/punk trio The Dead 60’s.

These scousers produced an energetic set of spiky guitar driven pop. When they stuck to that formula like on tracks such as Riot Radio and Bolt of Steel all was great. However, When they decided to drift into psychedelic ska grooves the mind tended to wander somewhat. Saying that one such groove was cut short by a huge guitar blowout, very strange indeed! In fact they were dogged by technical issues with the guitar tech earning his wages being on stage almost as much as the band! A troubled but memorable performance!

To say I’ve seen Ash before is a bit of an understatement with this being the Fifth time, yet this is to only time I’ve been to see one of their own headline tours. This says something about my love for the band so this review is…and I admit fully…totally biased (impartiality is overrated)! Kicking off with material from the latest album Twilight of the Innocents set the theme for the evening. They played many a new track which would have put a dampener on most gigs, but not this one.

Highlights from the new album were power pop of Blacklisted, mega catchy and balladry of End of The World and the atmospheric muse-esque mood-rocker title track Twilights of The Innocents. Aside from newer material, classic early hits were flying left right and centre, from Goldfinger to A Life Less Ordinary not forgetting live rarities Walking Barefoot to Shining Light. In fact they didn’t leave any stone unturned this evening even if one should really not have been touched.

To which I’m referring to is the only blip in the Ash catalogue, the atrocity that is Candy. If is wasn’t sandwiched in between classics Kung-Fu and Jack Names the Planets it really could have been a major disaster. Although lead singer Tim Wheeler noted that Candy was written with their manager when high in Wales, this may go some way to explaining this oddity. The light show tonight wasn’t bad either, a brutal assault on the visual cortex if i may put it so bluntly!

Closing out the show with Burn Baby Burn after a mind blowing 2 and a bit hour set, also running over by a good 15 minutes Ash are in the elite of pop rockers and after 15 years have honed their skills to a fine art and are always fantastic to behold! Long Live Ash!

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