Ash may look unassuming, but this wolf in sheep’s clothing took a Sunday night out on the tiles and showed it a good time.
Their show had everything that rock ‘n roll is supposed to be about: drum solos, a happy birthday, guitar licks and the bassist strumming from behind his head.
And if you think that Ash have gone soft, the boys from Northern Ireland are here to show you that the genre they occupy is a fluid thing.
Because their new album might not lack the bite of their previous work, but that doesn’t mean these boys can’t play it loud and proud or lack the skill to let their instruments do the talking for them.
In fact, with Brexit on the horizon they’re about the only noise from that part of the world that’s worth listening to, and while their hits carried them through the majority of the set, the news stuff from Islands didn’t exactly let the side down.
Vocalist Tim Wheeler has been around the block before and knows all of the tricks of the trade – even though his Movember effort might make him appear to be more comfortable on the ranch than standing in front of a crowd with guitar in hand.
And Wheeler plays a big part in keeping the crowd occupied, entertained and on their toes. He delays little bits of the songs, keeps his guitar humming just that extra few seconds longer, says a few words here and there – it’s the sort of know how you acquire after decades in the game.
Ash are good at the heavier stuff, as Kung Fu and Orpheus show – but where the true appreciation of skill comes in is with their softer side. Sometime you have to watch a song being played to realise how good it is, and that can definitely be said about the three-piece.
The last three songs of the regular set are when things really started to heat up as the excellent Buzzkill, one of the heaviest from Islands, combined with Burn Baby Burn and Girl From Mars to completed de-fleece the lamb and lay bare the snarling wolf.
All it took was Lose Control as the final song of the night as Ash fully bared their teeth.