ASH Live in Bali
Hard Rock Cafe: Bali
- ASH (Band)
Its worth considering here the Northern Irish trios journey to this point. Wheeler and Hamiltons friendship and musical adventures began in 1989, when the two 12-year-olds founded (unheralded) heavy metal titans Vietnam in their hometown of Downpatrick, County Down. Though the band ultimately fell apart as grunge re-arranged the face of rock music, the duo remained united, recruiting 16-year-old drummer Rick McMurray for their new vehicle, Ash, a classic power trio inspired by Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Pixies and local alt.rock heroes Lazer Gun Nun.
The groups debut single, Jack Names The Planets was funded and released by London-based radio plugger Stephen Taverner on his own La La Land label in 1994, picking up airplay and plaudits from influential Radio 1 DJs John Peel, Steve Lamacq and Mark Radcliffe. That same year, Korda Marshall, the former Head of A&amp;R for RCA Records, snapped up the teenage rockers as one of the first signings to his newly created Infectious Records label. The groups first two Infectious singles, Petrol and Uncle Pat, topped the UK indie charts: the third, the irresistible Kung Fu, equally indebted to martial arts legend Jackie Chan and punk pioneers Ramones, marked the trio out one of the nations most exciting new bands. 1995 saw Ash crack the UK Top 20 for the first time, with pop-punk classics Girl From Mars and Angel Interceptor, before the Top 10 success of Goldfinger prefigured their debut album, 1977, crashing into the UK album chart at number one.
The years that followed were something of a blur. The band closed Glastonbury festival in 1997, recruited London-born guitarist Charlotte Hatherley that same summer, headlined Reading festival as a quartet in 2001, and racked up a second number one album (Free All Angels), a Top 10 album (Nu-Clear Sounds) and six more Top 30 singles in between. Free All Angels lead-off single, Shining Light, earned Tim Wheeler an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song while the incendiary Burn Baby Burn garnered a Single Of The Year accolade from Q magazine. In 2004, the bands fourth album, Meltdown, showcased a heavier sonic approach, debuting at number 5 in the charts, and securing the band an opening slot on U2s world tour. Upon completion of the album cycle, Wheeler and Hamilton relocated to New York, while Hatherley exited the group by mutual consent.
Further changes were afoot. Following the release of 2007s Twilight Of The Innocents, the band declared they would no longer make albums, but acknowledge the new digital download landscape by releasing only singles. The bold, innovative and ground-breaking A-Z Series - 26 singles in one year, a single for each letter of the alphabet, one release each fortnight on the trios own Atomic Heart Records label - was launched as a subscription service in 2009, drawing acclaim from fans and the industry alike.
ASHs latest album, Islands was released in May 2018 and received rave reviews.
Islands is an open-hearted set of songs dealing with love and loss, friendship and betrayal, identity, salvation, redemption and rebirth all the important stuff. Pound-for-pound, its also the strongest, most exhilarating long player of Ashs storied 26-year career, an album which reaffirms the trios status as one of the most idiosyncratic and singularly thrilling guitar bands on these islands.
Islands is a cathartic collection for the singer, inspired, says Wheeler, by me trying to get my head around a break-up that didnt make any sense to me. Self-produced, and recorded at the bands own Atomic Heart Studio, where every Ash release since Twilight Of The Innocents has been committed to tape, the album cycles through the full Kbler-Ross grief model - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance with Wheeler laying bare his emotions in unflinching detail.
Weve had two number one albums and 18 Top 40 singles, reflects Wheeler, so when we were making this record, part of the thinking was, is this song strong enough to knock one of the big hits out of our live set? With Islands, I think weve given ourselves a nice problem, because these are some of the best songs weve ever written. Were excited to be back
ASH is Tim Wheeler, Mark Hamilton and Rick McMurray.
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- Sat 24 Nov, 09:00 PM