CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF 1977
VENUE – MY FRONT ROOM
How things can change! Within the last 18 months, the people and the world has taken a battering and live music is one of the biggest casualties. But adversity throws up strange bedfellows and so it is that I’m sitting here in front of my TV, cold beer in hand ready to watch Ash play a live gig to nobody in the room but thousands and thousands of people watching online.
Would I miss, making my way to the venue, the smell of aftershave and perfume blending in with beer and sweat, the queuing at the bar and for the toilets? You know what?… yes, I would…. But the thing I was going to miss the most is the group energy that is created when you are in a room with an ace band and loads of like-minded people. Yes hard for me, but it must be even harder for the band, who feed off that energy to take the whole room to somewhere special and create a night that you talk about all the way home with your mates, or anyone that will listen for that matter.
But I am undeterred. If its good enough for Ash and they are going to give it a go, then its good enough for me and big respect to the band for embracing the online experience.
Tonight, Ash were going to play their debut, and, some people would say, seminal album “1977” in its entirety. Released on Infections in 1996, this platinum-selling UK No 1 album, spawned the hit singles, “Kung Fu”, “Girl From Mars”, “Angel Interceptor”, “Goldfinger” and “Oh Yeah” – all songs that continue to ring out loud at venues and on festival stages all over the world.
So, the screen flickers and the three-piece are on, and to be fair to the boys and their crew, they have put real effort into creating a live feel; flashing lights and full stage set up, and I have to say at this point, the band look remarkably good and very youthful. From Lead singer, Tim Wheeler resplendent in American college baseball jacket and sparkling diamante-studded guitar, to drummer Rick McMurray, rocking the American truck driver look, and bass player Mark Hamilton, looking cool in his indie uniform, a 1977 T-shirt and jeans, the band are ready to rock.
As the first chords of “Lose Control” are bashed out, (just missing the sound of the Tie Fighter that starts the original record), I start to remember how great this album is, so young and fresh with all the bravado of youth.
The album was played as per track listing with even Tim noting “and now Side 2” when we got to that point
And what we have to remember is these lads were only teenagers when they wrote this record, and lyrically that is what the album is about; drinking beer and getting drunk, (remember the hidden last track, “Sick Party”), chasing girls and martial arts. But I don’t mean it was juvenile and throw away, because it was far from that; it was youthfully brilliant and exciting.
And now 25 years later, here we are, listening to the album played live in full, and to be honest, it’s the first time in years I have listened to this album from start to finish and do you know what? It still stands up, and if it was released today, it would still be a huge record, because cutting through the youthful bravado, the song-writing and musicianship is of the highest level. It has elements of Britpop and Garage Rock, Power Pop, and Grunge, taking in the best bits of bands like the Buzzcocks,, Dinosaur Jr., and Sonic Youth. And that’s why “1977” appeared on best-of-the-year album lists from the likes of Kerrang!, NME, and Melody Maker.
So, with all that said, I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at home with ASH and “1977”, and they played it brilliantly. But, obviously, nothing will ever take away the buzz and feel you get from being in a packed venue, listening to one of your favourite bands, hammering out one of your favourite albums, so long live ASH and even more importantly right now, long live Live music and Live music venues.
Girl From Mars
I’d Give You Anything
Gone The Dream
Let It Flow
Lost In You
FOLLOW ALL MUSIC MAGAZINE
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.