ASH! Masters of the universe! The lights beamed as the lads from Northern Ireland descended onto the stage of The Tuning Fork for one sell out show.
Kicking off the night were local rockers Tablefox. My first thought was ‘Wow, this is awfully chill for Friday night AND St Patrick’s day.’ The sound was solid crowd pleasing rock that could have served as the background music of any neighbourhood pub. With a cover of Australian Crawl’s Reckless, they looked certain to seal their fate.
Then came Burning Bridges, and the guys caught their stride and brought new energy to the room. They kept the momentum going as they ploughed through a few more songs, finishing up with their newest single Something Better.
It’s been over 20 years since Ash came to New Zealand, playing at Auckland’s Powerstation. Tonight Tim Wheeler, Mark Hamilton, and Rick McMurray were here to celebrate 30 years of Ash. And while Glassons’ windows show that the 90s fashion is back, this was definitely a show for the kids who were there the first time around.
A sea of Gen Xers and older Millenials piled into the sweaty pit as the banded kicked straight into it with Goldfinger and Wild Surf. The crowd was jumpin… well that is at least until they realised they should probably save some energy for Girl From Mars, and things mellowed out a little.
Oh Yeah came on early in the set and didn’t fail to transport me back 1996, sitting on the floor in the lounge, watching MAX TV. The video with Tim Wheeler sitting by the merry go round in the pouring rain was iconic. I always think of the song as more of a slow ballad, but it rocked!
It was about halfway through the set before they addressed the green elephant in the room. With a pause for beer, Tim lamented it was St Patrick’s Day, and he still hadn’t had a Guinness. Fortunately, he’s a polite boy, so the crowd obliged.
The 20 song set spanned the decades, doing justice to the well loved classics from 1977 and Free All Angels. But the new tracks from their 2018 album Islands didn’t feel out of place, with the crowd swaying and clapping along to songs like Confessions In The Pool.
The evening came to a natural climax with Kung Fu, which saw bass player Mark Hamilton dive into the crowd, playing out the song in a swarm of fans. I had forgotten what a solid 90s jam Kung Fu was, and it filled my little heart with joy. Those who were holding out on the jumping couldn’t contain themselves any longer. Fortunately, Girl From Mars came around quickly, beautifully finishing up the set.
I would have been content for the show to end there. The lads returned with their rendition of Whiskey In The Jar… because, you know, St Patricks Day? The song is great. Ash is great. They played it well. But the crowd just didn’t seem to be feeling it and it seemed a little out of place. That quickly changed when they broke out their version of The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks. The crowd went wild, and they rounded us out with their 2001 crowd fav Burn Baby Burn.
We came for the 90s nostalgia, and Ash delivered. Now please allow me to go spend the next 2 weeks getting Kung Fu out of my head.
Click any icon for a full gallery of photos of both Ash & Tablefox. Photos by Veronica McLaughlin Photography.
A Life Less Ordinary
Darkest Hour Of The Night
Confessions In The Pool
Shining Light –
Girl From Mars
Whiskey In The Jar – Cover
Teenage Kicks – Cover
Burn Baby Burn