03/20/13 Detroit, MI / Magic Stick Lounge
03/21/13 Newport, KY / Southgate House
03/22/13 Indianapolis, IN / Radio Radio
03/23/13 Pittsburgh, PA / Altar Bar
07/19/13 Truck Festival Hill Farm, Oxford
07/20/13 Super Bock Super Rock Portugal
07/27/13 Kendal Calling Lake District
08/02/13 Camp Bestival Dorset
08/03/13 Y Not Festival Derbyshire
Sure, I mentioned Ash last week, but today, they released the official SXSW shows and "mini" tour dates - which looks like they are catering to the mid-west .…
The two key players were dedicated singer, and sometime tambourine player, Liam Benzvi, and guitarist, and sometime singer, Francis Jimenez. Both of them were excited about an upcoming new single or EP on March 26th, as they played two new tracks from it called "White Irish" and "Minor Times" (which they ended their set with).
As for Ash, what can I say? It's been a long time, but well worth it, finally seeing them again. I've seen the bands a few times, but they usually were not billed as headliner - for instance, opening up for Saves the Day in 2003 or Bravery in 2005.
For casual fans, let me help catch you up: the Irish band started off as a trio (Tim, Mark, and Rick) and had a massive hit with 1977 in 1996. Charlotte Hatherley joined the band in 1998 with Nu-Clear Sounds, she became an integral part of the band, until her departure in 2004 with Meltdown. By 2007, the band returned to their music roots as a trio with Twilight of the Innocents, but Tim and company were unhappy with its release that they announced it will be Ash's last album. That's not the end of the story: Ash would come back as strictly a "singles" band, returning with the "A-Z" series (recording a new single every two weeks for a year).
I am also happy to report that a good portion of songs on this current tour were taken from my personal favorite 1977 album ("Goldfinger" , "Angel Interceptor", "Kung Fu", "Oh Yeah", and "Girl From Mars"). You can tell that the audience loved the album as well with their strong sing-along feedback and dancing.
There were a couple of surprises for me at this show, first is Nu-Clear Sounds was largely ignored (no "Jesus Says", no "Wildsurf", etc.), the second is that songs from Free All Angels ("Walking Barefoot", "Shining Light", and the encore "Burn Baby Burn" ) got huge responses from the fans, and third, who knew bassist Mark Hamilton was such a rock star? Wow check out his moves!
It's really been too long. Let's hope we don't have to wait another seven years to see Ash again, the band promised to come back soon.
Ash's A-Z Series is out now. You can pick up all 62 songs at a bargain price of $8.99 on amazon. The physical discs (both Vol 1 & 2) can be picked up at their merchandise table for $10 each.
Ash at the Varsity Theater, Minneapolis (03/18/13)