With support from the brilliant Brand New Friend, fresh off the release of their debut album Seatbelts for Aeroplanes, Ash at Hebden Trades Club was a riotous occasion. A cacophony of loud guitars, screaming fans and sweat-drenched t-shirts.
Symbolically opening the gig with their debut single (‘Jack Names The Planets’), Ash’s set was staged from the offset to be a career-spanning, ear-shattering affair. A succession of greatest hits covered the band’s history followed, bringing us up-to-date with a rendition of ‘Annabelle’ – the first song played from their latest release Islands. Fitting into the setlist seamlessly, ‘Annabelle’ offered that classic Ash pop-punk feel while truly highlighting the strengths of the newest album.
As the show reached the mid-way point of the staggering 23-song setlist, classic hits such as ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Shining Light’ and ‘Angel Interceptor’ were played alongside some of the more obscure singles (‘Machinery’ and ‘Lets Ride’). A rare outing of ‘Jesus Says’ served a breath of new life into the understated tune, while the nature of the show was perfectly encapsulated with ‘Buzzkill’, the one-two punch of ‘Orpheus’ and ‘Girl From Mars’. The nearly-unbearable heat radiating from the crowd was not enough to silence them, with these songs gaining the most passionate responses of the night.
The heat, however, proved to be too much for the band themselves. Tim Wheeler’s shirt was more akin to a puddle while both Rick and Mark had to rush off-stage to “take care of business”, only to be berated by the comic stylings of one Wheeler who quipped, “Fucking lightweights”.
This unbearable ethos was re-enforced during the band’s encore as they simply stripped off before crashing into the melodic ‘Walking Barefoot’ (now closer to Walking Bare-Shirt), the screaming ‘Numbskull’ and the brilliant closing track ‘Burn Baby Burn’.
Ash at Hebden Bridge Trades Club will be sure to linger in the memory of anyone who was lucky enough to be there. Providing why their longevity is so deserved, Ash produced faithful renditions of their latest singles and managed to display sprawling hits from each section of their storied career in a dazzling light. Ash seemingly have a lot left in the tank and one can only be excited by what is to come next.
Photography: Alex John Beck