HERE COMES THE MUSIC
NOTICE: Wearing backpacks to concerts is a bad, bad thing. If you’re that guy, the one who shows up to general admission shows with a backpack full of crap, I have news for you: there is nothing in your nerd bag of tricks you need! You wandering through the crowd bumping people because you have no clue how big that hunch on your back is just makes everyone hate you.
NOTICE #2: If you’re going to need more beer every second or third song, pick a place near the bar. Being on the opposite end of the club from the bar, and having to push your way back and forth every time you need to get your drink on will make everyone hate you.
NOTICE #3: If you can’t get there on time, stand in the back. If a band has been playing for an hour, chances are the audience has worked out a system where everyone is comfortable and can see. You haven’t earned the right to be as close as we have, and frankly, you should learn a little etiquette. No one likes going from having a perfect view to only being able to see the singer’s head. This is why everyone hates you.
These are the things I learned at the Ash concert last night. I also formulated a plan for world peace. I—and I alone—will be issued a billy club, and if you commit any infraction against what I think is right and proper, then I will club you. I will have to answer to a weekly committee and explain my actions, just so I don’t go around willy nilly clubbing people unchecked—but my power is absolute and fighting back only gets you in more trouble. I recommend buying stock in razor companies, because bad beards are going to get people clubbed left, right, and center, and I imagine many will be shaving after I take over.
The Space Twins opened for Ash. This is the side band for the guitarist from Weezer. It was decent stuff, but exactly what you’d imagine. Like Weezer without the melody. It was one of those bands where the players were so incredibly competent, that they were also incredibly bland. Their technical skill superceded any emotion or power. I hate to put it this way, but it’s generally the same sound you hear with any band formed by guys with money. It’s like a trust-fund kid band, where everyone has great equipment, knows how to use it, but has no charisma or anything to really say. Super Deluxe were a NW band in the mid-‘90s that very much typified that. Most recently, I’d say Phantom Planet is the shining example—Hollywood kids who make a passable Beach Boys meets the Byrds sound, but who ultimately bore.
Ash, however, delivered in a big, big way. It didn’t matter to them that they were playing a tiny club, they gave it everything they had. Tim Wheeler was all over the stage, and his guitar playing skills in particular impressed in comparison to Space Twins. He really knows how to play, but yet, the guy has such a magical knack for a tune, it’s astounding. They focused primarily on material off of 1977 and Free All Angels, deviating only for “A Life Less Ordinary” (yay! this was the one song I went in thinking if people shouted for requests, it’s what I’d shout for! (something you always should decide on before going in)), a surprising “Jack Names the Planets,” and the opener was a B-side whose name escapes me (maybe “No Place to Hide”?). They closed the set with an amazingly fun version of “Kung Fu,” and the encore was a raucous “Burn Baby Burn.” They also did two new songs that, as expected, kicked ass. “Evil Eye” is going to make a great A-side.
There is just something about Ash that is so true. The local paper wrote in their preview of the show that Free All Angels had five honest singles on it, and that’s pretty accurate. Just about every song they make would be at home on the radio. It seems a crime given all the crappy punk rip-offs making waves in America right now that these guys aren’t selling billions of discs.
I even bought a T-shirt, if for no other reason than my old school “Three Boy Hardcore Action” shirt from 1996 has contracted cancer and needs to go to T-shirt heaven.
Current Soundtrack: Ash, Intergalactic Sonic 7”s