The Button Factory in Dublin was previously known as The Temple Bar Music Centre, it’s a small venue with a slightly odd layout. Quite long and narrow it can sometimes create a strange atmosphere. Having a bar at the back doesn’t help for the quieter gigs as the clanking of glasses and chatter from the less interested can both annoy and frustrate. The venue is nice and intimate but the standing area is maybe too small and tonight I somehow managed to stand behind a guy who was 7 foot tall (no exaggeration….well ok maybe only 6.6.) which didn’t help.
Despite my venue concerns tonight was all about Ash (this was to be my first time seeing the three piece). A very minor claim to fame of mine, and please bear with me on this, is that I once shared a flat with two lads, one of which dated a girl whose sister was going out with Tim Wheeler. As I said it is a very minor claim. That though was back in 1996 when I had just bought the band’s debut 1977 album; a quite amazing debut from the three Northern Irish teenagers and I was mightily excited that I could actually meet the band. As it turned out I never did. Not once. Never. Not much of a story in truth….
Ash are touring the great A-Z Series which involves the release of a single every two weeks for a year. 26 singles in fact….hence the A-Z title. This has only started recently and as a result we have so far only had the first four (True Love 1980, Joy Kicks Darkness, Arcadia, and Tracers). If the remaining 22 are as good as these then it will be some achievement. All four are played tonight and all are very well received. Best of all tough is the last song of the main set, a track they gave away free earlier this year, called Return Of The White Rabbit. Quite magnificent.
Of course the usual suspects are played as well, indeed the band start the show with Lose Control and A Life Less Ordinary and play a good chunk of songs from the 1977 and Free All Angels albums. As normal good live bands put in a hell of a lot of energy and tonight Ash really put the work in. The gig concludes with a storming Burn Baby Burn and that is that.
Ash should be playing bigger venues than this but luckily for me it meant I get chance to see them up close. There was a nice mix of songs tonight with the new songs holding up well when compared with the old favourites. No wonder though as this is a band who write effortlessly catchy tunes. Yes they have had a rethink and come up with a novel way of releasing material but it seems to be doing wonders as on stage they were having a ball. Hopefully the record buying public will support them all the way.
Ticket: November 25th 2009
Ticket Price: €23.00