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Ash / Violet Bones – The Picturedrome, Holmfirth – Sunday 28th July

Yeah, Holmfirth’s a bit off the beaten track for MPT. (Quite how far only became apparent on the ascent and descent of Holme Moss on the way to the show!)

But essentially the draw for this was the fact that this was an all ages show thereby giving us the perfect reason for a weekend away with the kids during the school holidays by taking MPK2 to his first Ash show.

Not surprisingly it was my first time at the Picturedrome but it seemed like a good venue – good sound, lighting and a good view for the smaller amongst us from the slope towards the back of the ball. I certainly wouldn’t object to going back although it does seem to be established more on the heritage circuit than for contemporary bands.

I don’t think Ash are a heritage act yet (‘A-Z’ proved there’s plenty of new material left in them) but last night’s show was effectively a ‘Best Of’ show. It will likely be remembered though for the fact that Tim Wheeler lost a tooth (self inflicted!) during ‘White Rabbit’. But more of that later.

After various traffic related travails in Manchester city centre (and the perilous crossing of Holme Moss) we arrived just in time to see Violet Bones open the show. They seemed to be cut from similar cloth to Ash but with perhaps a little more showbiz flowing through their veins. Their enjoyable half hour set passed quickly and the MPKs in particular seemed quite taken with them.

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Violet Bones

And so to the headliners and from the opening chords of ‘Meltdown’ it was clear that band and audience were ‘fucking up for it’ even on a Sunday night. Ash stormed through a rapturously received run of hits, with the odd slightly left of field choice, and the intensity level barely dipped throughout.

Pleasingly for the 2 MPKs, ‘A-Z’ was visited several times although one of these tunes, ‘Binary’, was perhaps the only minor  mis-step of the evening, the three piece guitar bass and drums version slightly missing the target compared to the electro studio recording. It was also pretty much the only tune to be met by a subdued crowd reaction.

As a bonus, somewhere in the middle of the set Rick demonstrated to the audience that he can write his name with his pelvis. Which may well have been the show’s abiding memory had Tim not proceeded to whack his mouth off his mic during the incendiary set closer, ‘Return of the White Rabbit’ .

This was doubly unfortunate as, for the audience, it led to the encore being restricted to just one song but more so for the singer as it was clearly a painful blow.

Whilst many others might have been tempted to finish the show there and then Tim instead explained what had happened before leading the band into traditional finale ‘Burn Baby Burn’.

A delay in raising the house lights might have tempted some audience members into thinking that Tim was joking and that the band might still be back. But the slightly surreal sight of the roadies taking to the stage en masse to search for the missing tooth confirmed that the show was indeed over.

However I doubt that this spoiled the show for many. Certainly not for both MPKs with the elder showing a rare burst of enthusiasm for anything not Xbox related whilst the younger is already looking forward to being old enough to see Ash in Scotland, hopefully, in the not too distant future.

Ash setlist

1. Meltdown  2. A life Less Ordinary  3. Girl From Mars  4. Oh Yeah  5. Binary  6. Goldfinger  7. Walking Barefoot  8. Kung Fu  9. Evil Eye  10. Sometimes  11. Arcadia  12. Shining Light  13. Orpheus  14. Jack Names The Planets  15. Return of the White Rabbit  16. Burn Baby, Burn

Ash have several other dates in the UK in the next week (Falmouth 31st, Plymouth 1st, Dorset 2nd and Y Not festival, Derbyshire (3rd)) before departing for the Far East and Australia later in August. Go see them – you won’t be disappointed.

Some better photos of last night’s show here courtesy of bongbrummie (you can see I only had the phone with me!)

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