Wednesday, 24 March 2010

543 ASH, Hundred Reasons, Swindon Oasis, Sunday 3 February 2002

A rare "big gig" in Swindon turned out to be quite an eventful evening! Met up with the guys in O'Neills, then took a wander under the subway to the Oasis. Strange to go to a gig here again - and a sell-out, this time! Grabbed one of the last available lockers to cram our coats into, then wandered into the hall for Hundred Reasons. They played a varied set, ranging from lumpy nu-metal to punk-oriented rock, but lacking in tunes; only 3 numbers, including recent single "I'll Find You" had any discernable trace of a tune! However, there was an ever-expanding moshpit throughout and I have to say the kids loved Hundred Reasons, going down as well as any support band I've ever seen!

Failed to get near the bar during the interval, so wandered nearer the front of the stage for Ash's entrance, just after 9. Rachel and I joined the surge towards the stage as they kicked off with "A Life Less Ordinary", still my favourite Ash number! The surf-punk groove of "Angel Interceptor" was up next, by which time we were gleefully participating in a large moshpit, and despite my cold I was holding up pretty well!

Ash played a well-chosen set, with a host of "Free All Angels" tracks interspersed with earlier singles, a double-header of the breathless "Kung Fu" and "Girl From Mars" being most notable. "You don't get much rock'n'roll in Swindon, do you?" asked Tim Wheeler, and proceeded to deliver Ash's own hard-edged but melodic sing-along punky pop version of the rock.

But then the fun started, as it were. Towards the end of the set, a crowdsurfer landed squarely on Rachel's head, and I hauled her out of the mosh, helped in no small measure by an old school acquaintance Mike Bolton, who just happened to be next to us in the mosh! After a suitable respite, we headed back in for the rest of the set, then the inevitable encores. Then, during Ash's encore of "Uncle Pat", the steward down the front took exception, for some reason, to my asking for a drink of water by throwing it in my face! This dislodged one of my contact lenses, so I screamed abuse at the guy and scooted off to try and find a mirror to replace it. The steward followed me, interrupted and eyeballed me, screaming abuse back, at which point I decided enough was enough. I found a security guard in the hallway and, after Rach did a sterling job calming me down, explained what had happened. He pointed me in the direction of the Promoter, who I met up with after the show. He was very sympathetic and offered me £25 to compensate our missing Ash's encores, free tickets to any show he's promoting in the area in future, plus backstage party passes!

Shame the backstage party turned out to be a damp squib - no drinks, and the band, tall guitarist Mark notwithstanding, stayed firmly in their dressing room - but even so, this rescued a bad situation for us. So anyway Ash; most enjoyable (while I could enjoy it, that was!) and, despite not being as good as the recent Bristol show, a suitable kick-start to hopefully more gigs at the Oasis. I'd be happy though if they were less eventful than this one!

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