Ash @ HMV Forum 25th October 2011

This was the first time I had witnessed Ash perform live. The reason I attended this gig was down to the fact Free All Angels would be play in its entirety plus Charlotte Hatherley had rejoined this band especially for the Free All Angels tour. I arrived at the HMV Forum around 3pm and the weather wasn’t at its best. The reason for my early arrival was down to the fact as VIP ticket holders witnessed the soundcheck I didn’t know whether they would remain inside the venue before the doors opened at 7pm. Fast forward 4 hours everyone then started to trickle into the venue. Once inside I managed to secure right centre. A number of VIP ticket holders were already inside and that was down to the slight delay in letting normal ticket holders going inside.

After support slots from Virgin Marys and Futures it was then onto the main course of the night and this being Ash. The set was broken down into two parts. Part 1 was Free All Angels in its entirety and the second part was the Best Of. When they made their entrance onto the stage there was huge applause. They then launched into Walking Barefoot straight away. This song was blitzed through and it was a real crowd pleaser. Charlotte’s harmonising was sublime and her guitar playing was outstanding. “Thankyou all for coming tonight, We had alot great shows at the Forum over the years” Tim Wheeler went onto say before mentioning they were playing all of Free All Angels with the wonderful Charlotte Hatherley. Shining Light was next on the night. This song which was the first single from Free All Angels oozed plenty of energy. Shining Light was delivered to perfection and I found it to be slightly mellowing compared to other songs on the night. Once over it was it was straight into Burn Baby Burn. This was delivered at a furious pace and this performance was rather energetic. Candy was next and this song was under rated. Honestly it should of made the top 10 back in 2001. Back to the song it was wonderfully delivered by Tim Wheeler who had put his guitar down for the majority of it. I found Candy to be rather laid back with some luscious lyrics. Also at the end there was an epic guitar solo by Wheeler. Cherry Bomb then followed on and they blitzed through this energetic song. Submission was delivered strongly and Someday was rather wonderful. It was then onto a blistering performance of Pacific Palisades which they blitzed through. Straight after it was onto Shark and again this song was very powerful and oozed plenty of energy. Sometimes sounded lovely and not over powerful. For this song Hatherley took to the piano. Nicole and There’s A Star were the next two songs on the night. There’s A Star was actually played at a steady tempo. “Thankyou so much” Wheeler said before they launched into the final track on Free All Angels. This being World Domination. The song was delivered to perfection and plenty of people were rocking out to it. After when the 1st set was over the band went offstage for a little break. Once offstage another backdrop was hoisted up.

Projects which was the first track on 2nd album Nu Clear Sounds (the first album to feature Hatherley) was the first song to kick off the 2nd set. After plenty of cheers it was then onto the crowd pleasing A Life Less Ordinary. They blitzed through this powerful song. “I bet that alot of peoples favourite song in here tonight” Wheeler said to the crowd. Starcrossed was first up and straight after it was onto Oh Yeah and plenty of people were singing along to this song. Orpheus which has to be one of my favourite tracks from Meltdown.  Once over it was then onto Wildsurf from Nu Clear Sounds. They literally breezed through this song. The atmosphere from the crowd was simply electric. The surprise inclusion of B Side Warmer Than Fire was next on the night and Steve Ludwin joined the band for this song. Ending the night was Girl From Mars which was a crowd pleaser. They blitzed through this song. Once over the band made an hasty exit only to return moments later. “Alright we got time for a few more songs” Wheeler said before they launched into Lose Control. This song had an extremly fast tempo. Ash’s very own take on The Undertones Teenage Kicks was one of my many highlights of the night. “Hopefully we’ll see you pretty soon” Wheeler said before again thanking Charlotte Hatherley. Ending the night was Kung Fu and the crowd were going wild during this final song. Plenty of energy oozed from this powerful song.

SET LIST

Walking Barefoot
Shining Light
Burn Baby Burn
Candy
Cherry Bomb
Submission
Someday
Pacific Palisades
Shark
Sometimes
Nicole
There’s A Star
World Domination
Projects
A Life Less Ordinary
Starcrossed
Oh Yeah
Orpheus
Wildsurf
Warmer Than Fire
Girl From Mars

ENCORE

Lose Control
Teenage Kicks
Kung Fu

OVERALL: Once over the band then bowed to the audience before making their exit. All in all this was an extraordinary night and Free All Angels is my favurite Ash album. In fact that was the album that got me into Ash. Seeing the 4 piece play live again was something and it probably won’t happen again. Or will it??

The crowd atmosphere was turbo charged and there were a few crowd surfers. If Charlotte did rejoin the band I would see them play within a heartbeat. Regarding the set list I found it to be quite amazing. I feel as it was made to cater around Charlotte as the songs that featured were from her period so hearing Girl From Mars from 1977 was something really special.

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