Review by Mark Mcgrogan
As the days tick down to Santa’s arrival Belfast is a hive of activity as the Live Scene seems to knock out as many live gigs as possible on the run up to the Xmas break.
Tonight we are back once again at the Limelight to capture one of Northern Ireland’s home grown talents Ash celebrating 2 + decade’s together: Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years Of Ash. Opening up tonight we have Wood Burning Savages from Derry (Norn Iron) an aggressive punk-rock collective that have their own unique voice in the Irish music scene.
Like clockwork they hit the stage at 7:20 (Club night here in Belfast, early curfew) and the guys get stuck right in with a feverish, punchy set that immediately grand the attention, if for any reason you didn’t know of them, you do now. These guys have a set of real bangers behind them and get the Belfast crowds blood pumping and up for a great night’s craic courtesy of some fine home-grown talent. A killer start to the evening from a seriously talented and underrated band.
Slightly later than advertised the lights drop and ambient music kicks in as the crowd fills the room, gradually building up over the last 30 minutes or so. There is quite a mix here tonight as folks of all ages who have followed the band from their early days to the new millennials who may have tripped over the bands more recent work, but one thing is for sure, Belfast is here for a good time. The bright eyes and wide smiles tell the story of the evening, despite the roof falling in with the latest Omicron news coming from the press the crowd are here to live their lives, but in fairness there are a larger number conscious of the news and rightly taking their precautions. It doesn’t detract from the craic as Ash open with the crowd pleaser ‘Goldfinger’.
A gig like this for many is like a veritable time machine, you can almost put your finger on where you were with a any given time with any of these tracks from the last two decades and beyond, memories come flooding back of summers in the Belfast sun with your mates hanging around Botanic park or a day up the coast with the one who got away, there is no doubt a nostalgic air is in the room tonight as many like myself cannot believe these 25 years have flown past.
The crowd are really getting into it and by the time the band hit “Oh Yeah” the drink is flowing, and the party has well and truly kicked in. Tim and the guys just get into the zone and flow through a classic set like consummate pro’s, ageing like a fine wine apart from the drummer Rick who looks like he’s been living off grid with that beard ala “Into The Wild”, Only kidding Rick, we still love you! The sounds great, the guys look like a million dollars and the craic is 90! Belfast is in full swing once again and covid is but a distant memory for just a few hours.
Seven studio albums later, Ash truly are a Northern Ireland institution along with The Big Fish and The Ball’s On The Fall’s they are simply engrained into our Norn-Irish DNA. Thanks for a great night’s craic and one more blast down memory lane.
A Life Less Ordinary
Darkest Hour Of The Night
Confessions In The Pool
Another Girl Another Planet
Jack Names The Planets
Girl From Mars
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Burn Baby Burn