Concert Review: Ash, November 17, 2012


In the year 2012, Ash celebrated their 20th anniversary. You might think that would mean they are old and crusty, but then you realize that Tim Wheeler, the driving force behind the band is only 35. Which means that while you were sitting around a shopping mall after school doing whatever it is you were doing, Tim Wheeler and Mark Hamilton were writing classic songs like Jack Names The Planets.

Despite the band’s age, Ash has been working at a feverish pace in recent times which included the A-Z series, where the band released a single a week for 26 weeks. It is with this feverish pace and perhaps a sense of duty that Ash decided to embark on a North American tour this fall. With their last show in Toronto being seven years ago, it would be an understatement to say that an Ash show has been a long time coming.

The last time Ash was in town, a girl stormed the stage and proceeded to strip off her clothes. This was a response to the opening act, The Bravery, whose Carlos D wannabe guitarist/bassist decided to strip while playing. That show was a very odd one, because the Bravery had just recently caught fire on the heels of their unofficial Killers cover An Honest Mistake and most of the crowd was there for them. Obviously, they left after the Bravery (fools) creating a weird feeling among those who went there for Ash. It was a bit of a distraction.

This time around, there was no distraction and Ash just powered through a 19 song set that touched on all aspects of their discography. It was all you can ask for, take a look:

1.Lose Control (1977-1996)
2.Orpheus (Meltdown-2004)
3.A Life Less Ordinary (A Life Less Ordinary EP-1997)
4.Goldfinger (1977-1996)
5.Clones (Meltdown-2004)
6.Walking Barefoot (Free All Angels-2001)
7.Binary (A-Z Vol. 2-2010)
8.Evil Eye (Meltdown-2004)
9.Kung Fu (1977-1996)
10.Shining Light (Free All Angels-2001)
11.Oh Yeah (1977-1996)
12.Jack Names The Planets (Trailer-1994)
13.Arcadia (A-Z Vol.1-2010)
14.Girl From Mars (1977-1996)
15.Return of White Rabbit (A-Z Vol.1-2010)

16.Angel Interceptor (1977-1996)
17.Uncle Pat (Trailer-1994)
18.Joy Kicks Darkness (A-Z Vol.1-2010)
19.Burn Baby Burn (Free All Angels-2001)

Big thanks to our sister blog Indie Kid vs Dance Kid for providing the set list. Ash just rocked the show. Ash’s punk sensibilities had always precluded them from entering most Britpop discussions (they were also..not British, but rose to prominence at around the same time) but it was this sensibility and Tim Wheeler’s flying v guitar that made the show so memorable. One of the things you really notice at an Ash show is just how much these guys probably like metal. The rapid chord progression and squealing guitars are a real homage to that sound and it really counterbalances Ash’s catchy lyrics nicely.

3 Highlights for me include:

A Lifeless Ordinary– an unforgettable song from the forgettable movie

Binary– Honestly, one of the best songs from Ash. It’s off their A-Z series which means old school 1977 Ash fans probably never listened to it, but it’s as good as any of their older material.

Shining Light – One of the singles off Free All Angels, a highly successful yet underrated Ash album from 2001 that was probably the most pop oriented album to this date.

The show was basically hit song after hit song, so I would imagine everyone at the show had a different highlight and that just depends on which songs you felt particularly strong about. The twenty years of concert experience that the band has accumulated has transformed Ash into a well oiled rock machine. A three piece band rarely sounds bigger or more polished. The group hit all the notes, struck all the poses (especially Mark Hamilton) and look like they were having a helluva time doing it. Let’s just hope that it’s not seven years before we see them again.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.