Stereoboard Tour of the Week – Ash - Tickets Onsale 9am

Friday, 12 August 2011 Written by Rob Sleigh

Fifteen years ago, Northern Ireland-based rock trio Ash released their debut full-length ‘1977’. Amidst the overhyped and somewhat tedious phenomenon that was Britpop, the album provided a lively breath of fresh air to the crowds of young indie fans that were looking for something with a bit more energy. From its outset, with the sound of a TIE fighter screaming through space – a reference to the album’s title, which was named after the year that the original Star Wars film was released – ‘1977’ gave people exactly what they had wanted from a UK rock band for a long time. With tracks like opener ‘Lose Control’ and lead single ‘Kung Fu’, Ash’s mixture of rock, punk and indie, blended with the band’s own youthful energy, seemed like the ideal way to give Britpop a run for its money – for a short time anyway.

That’s right – once ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ had finally ended its reign at the top of the charts, ‘1977’ even spent a week at the Number One spot following its release. The album also earned Ash two Top 10 singles, although it was probably one of the first tracks to be taken from the album – ‘Girl from Mars’ – for which the band are still best-known. However, while many Ash fans would agree that ‘1977’ remains their best piece of work to date, this year is not about their first album – it’s about their third.

That’s because this year marks the 10th anniversary of ‘Free All Angels’ and the band will be celebrating the occasion with a new tour in October. Although ‘Free All Angels’ may have failed to reach the rock and roll perfection that was ‘1977’, the album’s first two singles ‘Shining Light’ and ‘Burn Baby Burn’ ensured that it would at least match the success of Ash’s debut. Another important fact to note about ‘Free All Angels’ is that it was the band’s second album to feature guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, and fans of the album will be pleased to hear that she will be joining them once again to celebrate the anniversary for the forthcoming tour. For nine whole years, starting from their 1997 Top 10 single ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ up until their fourth album ‘Meltdown’, Hatherley transformed the power trio into power quartet before parting ways with the group to pursue a successful solo career.

For those of you that failed to pick up any of Ash’s five albums to date, the band will also be coinciding the tour with the release of ‘The Best of Ash’ on 17th October. The new compilation includes 19 tracks that catalogue the best of the group’s work over the past 17 years. Unsurprisingly, it kicks off with all five singles from ‘1977’, followed by a selection of their finest efforts from their later releases. It even includes a couple of tracks from their recent A-Z singles series, which should be checked out for proof that they are still a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Ash UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu October 20th 2011 - HMV Institute, Birmingham, Birmingham
Fri October 21st 2011 - O2 Academy Bristol, Bristol
Sat October 22nd 2011 - O2 ABC, Glasgow
Sun October 23rd 2011 - HMV Ritz, Manchester
Tue October 25th 2011 - HMV Forum, London

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