w/ The Hooks
San Francisco, CA
September 22, 2016
It goes without saying that anniversary tours have become a staple in the music scene, at least within the world of rock music. But a vast majority of the anniversary tours I've attended over the past several years are in celebration of ten years since an album was released. When a message came in my inbox inviting me to see a band called Ash perform in San Francisco on a tour that was celebrating the TWENTIETH anniversary of an album called 1977, my attention was grasped. A great deal of bands aren't lucky enough to be able to get to that point in their career.
The Independent is what I like to call one of San Francisco's best kept secrets (okay, it's not really that secret). But it's an intimate, hole-in-the-wall venue right in the middle of a bustling downtown San Francisco scene, where everyone from small unknown acts to major artists the world over have performed. I get excited when a show comes through here because of up close and personal the shows here are.
Ash were only one of two bands performing that evening, with an opening set provided by a local San Francisco band called The Hooks. While I am indeed a big supporter of multi-band bills, it can be nice when there is a show that only has a single opener and the headliner on it. It's straight to the point, and not a lot of waiting around is involved. The Hooks provided a fun rock set that was nice enough to get the crowd warmed up and draw those who were rather shy closer to the stage prior to the start of Ash.
By the time the headliners took the stage, the club was completely packed. Ash wasted absolutely no time, and launched straight into the thrilling 1977. The entire album performance was a mix of hard-hitting rock pulling influences from the worlds of alternative, punk, and Britpop, and there wasn't a dull moment. No grandiose theatrics were present, but they weren't needed for a performance of this kind.
When the twelve-track record came to a finish in the set list, the band through eight more tracks spanning their collective catalogue, with songs coming from 2001's Free All Angels, and their most recent effort, 2015's Kablammo!
What was so great about this show was how straightforward it was. Going off of something that I said earlier, there wasn't anything hugely theatric going on in this show, but the band play with so much conviction and confidence on stage that theatrics aren't needed. It truly felt like a rock and roll show, and the band's performance provided just the right mix of chaos and clarity to showcase not only what a great record 1977 is after twenty years of existence, but what a truly great band they are after all of these years.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.