Ash – Live Review – Holmfirth Picturedrome
Ash – Live Review
Holmfirth Picturedrome, August 2017
by Steve Crabtree – @stevecrab
There can’t be many better ways to spend your last few hours of the weekend than heading out on a warm summer evening, having a drink and taking in a bit of live music. But when 90s indie rockers Ash are playing in the little town of Holmfirth, near Huddersfield; it just makes a Sunday night that little bit more special.
We’re in the very intimate setting of The Picturdrome tonight, and I’d say it must be close to its 650 capacity. There’s a well-staffed bar at the back of the venue which is easy to get to, as the two of us are served promptly and grab a beer, before making our way over towards to the right-hand wall. We’re about two-thirds of the way back, with a perfect view of the stage; ready for front man Tim Wheeler’s and his band to return to the place where he knocked his tooth out mid-song a couple of years ago.
The crowd that’s in is a collective of 25-45 year-olds, and you can see from the t-shirts and footwear they’ve got on tonight that a lot of the men are in to the kind of music we’re here for. And as the band come on and kick off with a raucous version of ‘Lose Control’, it’s clear that the majority of the audience are your full-on, hardcore Ash fans who’ve been there since the start in 1996.
Down at the front it’s a bouncy atmosphere, and I think that’s great to see. It’s very reminiscent of the days when I was an energetic 18-year-old, going to venues not much bigger than this to see bands who were Ash’s peers at the time like Catatonia, Manic Street Preachers, Shed Seven and Elastica. Tempted to head down and join them? Not anymore! I’m happy to enjoy it from the side, whilst savouring the performance and cradling my pint.
And the crowd are loving songs such as ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Kung Fu’ and singing along to ‘Oh Yeah’; with a good chunk of them punching the air with their fists, being transported back 20 years to their youth.
Ash sound really good. They’re a talented lot and that come across loud and clear. Very clear. The Picturedrome has the acoustics, the sound and the volume just right tonight. A great percentage of Ash’s songs were very rocky back in the day, despite the indie tag, and it’s a heavier feel to their set than what you’d expect if you only know their most popular songs.
‘Let’s Ride’, ‘Shining Light’ and ‘Return of White Rabbit’ are a handful of tunes that go down well with the crowd, before it’s an hour in to the gig they inevitably sing ‘Girl From Mars’ as their 15th and final song of the set. That was always the crowd-pleaser, and tonight it’s no exception.
With the crowd going nowhere and pleading for more, the band return for a three-song encore which includes ‘Jack Names The Planets’ and ‘Burn Baby Burn’. It’s been a 75-minute-long, no-fuss set tonight, from a band who are down-to-earth and have delighted their fans. A night of pure 90s indie-rock makes thinking about getting up for work the next day slightly more bearable.
Ash are one of a number of household names to come to this little haven of Holmfirth, and it’s clear to see why so many of them want to grace this venue.
image: Alex Lake