One of the good things about festivals is when headliners drop into small venues to test out their sets. Tonight, 90s indie disco darlings, Ash dropped into the Horn before their headline set at Stone Valley South.

Ash are one of those bands everyone in the 90s listened to – even if they didn’t. Their mid-90s album, 1977 had numerous infectious indie-pop songs that were not only popular in indie clubs, hit the charts and the mainstream. I have to admit, beyond songs like ‘Girl from Mars’, they didn’t really register too much with me. I was still heavily into grunge. But I had to catch them play the Horn.

I wasn’t the only person with that idea. Apparently, the tickets to the 200 capacity Horn, sold out in 30 seconds. A record for the Horn beating the return of the Slaves to the venue in 2016. Tim joking that the two bands should have a competition for who can sell out the venue the quickest.

I had expected a short 45 minute set. But they put together a set list that spanned their career that lasted well over an hour. It was nice to see they don’t shortchange their fans. As I expected, it was the 90s indie bangers that stood out.

It was great to see that despite all now being in their late 40s. Their energy levels are still there. Mark, their bassist somehow stretched himself out into weird shapes like he was demonstrating yoga. I’m a similar age and my body calls Age Concern every time I try to ask to do something flexible. I spent most of the gig thinking ‘Be careful, you’ll do yourself and injury’. Their music needs them to be youthful. There’s nothing worse than music written by teenagers, being played by old men. (Undertones, I’m looking at you).

I’m not sure my view of their music has shifted. Their infectious numbers are still infectious and puff pieces. Other songs are fairly generic. But they are still fun.

Opening, was a new band for me, Big Special. They are like a Brummie version of Yard Act. Spoken word with occasional singing. Unlike Yard Act they are a two-piece featuring drums and vocals. I would have expected the sound to be a bit repetitive, but it worked really well. I will definitely be catching this band again.

  • Goldfinger
  • Wild Surf
  • Jesus Says
  • A Life Less Ordinary
  • Angel Interceptor
  • Cocoon
  • Arcadia
  • Orpheus
  • Oh Yeah
  • Walking Barefoot
  • Sometimes
  • Darkest Hour Of The Night
  • Confessions In The Pool
  • Shining Light
  • Buzzkill
  • Kung Fu
  • Girl From Mars
  • Burn Baby Burn

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