Kicking off the show tonight are one of my favourite bands of 2015, The Amorettes, and it’s not the first time the Scottish trio have graced the Olympia Stage this year having played here with Black Star Riders and Europe back in March, where they played an excellent set, in fact this is their third Dublin show of the year having also supported Danko Jones in Whelans in September, also one of the years highlights. With limited time (and very sadly a very small number of punters in the venue) the girls get straight to work running though a seven song set mainly from their excellent debut “Game On” album.
Even with lead singer/guitarist Gill being slightly under the weather they push through and it has been a pleasure to watch them grow as a band over the last year or so and it’s the confidence in their playing and stagecraft that has developed even more with Touring. They are just balls out Rock ‘n’ Roll and tracks like ‘Get What’s Coming’, ‘Take Cover’ and the crowd participation number “Hot And Heavy” get a great reaction from the people that showed up early, lets hope next time they make their way across water there’s more there to see them, album number two due in 2016, keep an eye on this band. (4/5)
Filling the second support slot tonight, are an English band called Asylums, that I will be honest I didn’t really know much about until I saw them announced for this tour, but having listened to a few songs I was intrigued to how they would sound live. And I’m still a bit intrigued, and a bit confused, but maybe that’s just me. Being unlucky to have had a cancelled ferry to deal with and some crazy long drives, their is no lack of effort from the band. Right from the first track it’s in my mind that these guys will fit in really well at Reading/Leeds, they play guitar based Indie/Pop/Rock and although they are really visually stunning to watch and get a portion of the crowd going something just doesn’t grab me. Left side of the stage is like a frantic day release program, with Jazz (guitar) and Luke (vocals/guitar) in constant motion, and then the right side is the more functional side, the backbone of the band with Michael (bass) and Henry (drums) building a really solid foundation. There is a great energy about the guys, but tonight it’s just not doing it for me, that’s not to say given a different time it won’t work, I’ll just have to look forward to catching them another time. (3/5)
And so to the main event, Downpatrick’s very own ASH, are touring on the back of their first new studio release in eight years and “Kabloom” is pretty damn good, but I’m guessing for me and a lot of people tonight we are really looking forward to some of the classic’s getting blasted out, and there’s a great mix tonight mainly from “1977”, “Free All Angels” and “Kabloom”.
The new songs fit into the set really well and they sound really polished, from the singles ‘Machinery’ and ‘Cocoon’ to the instrumental ‘Evel Knievel’ there’s a really good balance and it’s great to see new album tracks stand up on their own against classics, but tonight is all about fun, as it tends to be at an ASH gig and once they are in full motion the speed of delivery picks up and the crowd is treated to former and future favourites. It is quite easy at times to forget just how many good songs this band has made over the years, but they are fired off at a great tempo and the crowd absolutely laps it up, naturally there’s more energy fed back from the classics, but that’s there the well balanced set comes into play. With ‘Kung Fu’, ‘Sometimes’, ‘Let’s Ride’ and ‘Oh Yeah’ woven around and between new music it doesn’t allow the set to drop off, and although the venue isn’t full to the rafters tonight at times you might be fooled into thinking it is.
A rousing cover of The Undertones “Teenage Kicks” with both The Amorettes and Asylums joining the band for a bit of fun was pretty cool and it was quite obvious that these guys had all had a great time on the Road over the period of the Tour, throwing in ‘Zombie Christmas’ (from Tim’s album with Emmy The Great) worked really well and added to the general vibe of the night. But the real genius is finishing off this part of the set with the wonderful ‘There’s A Star’. ‘Shinning Light’ which was sung along by a large percentage of the crowd and they the roof got lifted off with ‘Girl From Mars’ which isn’t unexpected, cracking tune and you and almost feel a big smile covering the venue.
The encore tonight consists of an explosive mix of the calm, the odd and the brilliant. ‘Walking Barefoot’ is a great slightly mellower track that leads straight into ‘Angel Interceptor’ and just when you think the pace is going to lift again Ash do something very different, being the night before the new Star Wars movie is released we get a rather weird and wacky version of ‘Cantina Band’ which works pretty well and adds some more levity to an already good atmosphere. Not to be outdone, we still have a few minutes left before the panto setup has to be started, so we get to here ‘Uncle Pat’ (winning the crowd vote over ‘Petrol’) and the night is closed out with a smashing rendition of ‘Burn Baby Burn’ again bringing their touring partners back onstage one more time, it’s amazing how they manage to fit so much into just over ninety minutes, and quite honestly they could have easily played another hour and people would have been happy.
A thoroughly enjoyable night of Rock has me for one already looking forward to their next set of dates on Irish soil, it’s also nice to see the band expanding their dates outside of just Dublin or Belfast, with shows in Galway and Cork, when they hit your town next get out and enjoy a great night out. (4/5)
Review – Stephen Brophy
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography © 2015
© OVERDRIVE 2015
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