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Brixton Academy

London, United Kingdom

December 11, 2001

Show notes

With Seafood.

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Set list

  1. Lose Control
  2. A Life Less Ordinary
  3. Angel Interceptor
  4. Submission
  5. Goldfinger
  6. Cherry Bomb
  7. Shining Light
  8. Walking Barefoot
  9. Sometimes
  10. Oh Yeah
  11. Candy
  12. Kung Fu
  13. Girl From Mars
  14. Pacific Palisades
  15. Wild Surf
  16. There’s a Star
  17. Burn Baby Burn
  18. Nicole
  19. World Domination


  1. Jesus Says
  2. Uncle Pat
  3. Tonight You Belong to Me (Irving Kaufman cover)
  4. Projects
  5. Only in Dreams (Weezer cover)
  6. Jack Names the Planets
  7. Teenage Kicks (The Undertones cover)
  8. Numbskull


Eternal indie hopefuls Seafood are almost many things: They almost have the same spiky, angular melodic sensibility that the likes of JJ72 trade on to great effect. Equally, they almost convince as heads down Steve Albini-esque noise merchants, in a slightly fey English indie-rock fashion, of course. Even their adolescent punk aesthetics are delivered with just enough conviction, you almost believe that they mean it. Almost, that is, but not quite.

At times the carefully orchestrated dynamics of Seafood’s 45-minute support set this evening, border on the very impressive. The industrial strength chunks of bass that bind “Pleasurehead”, the defiant power pop of “Similar Assassins” and the pulverising guitar breaks in “Western Battle”, all betray the hallmarks of an extremely competent band on the brink of something special. Unfortunately, they never seem able to escape an all-pervading sense of ‘almost’ throughout their set. Maybe it is the slightly repressed, almost apologetic, punky vocals. Perhaps the melodies just aren’t up to the job. For whatever reason, Seafood’s set tonight is perfectly enjoyable but ultimately unremarkable.

Fortunately, the same can definitely not be said for Ash. As the prodigal sons (and daughter) of indie pop erupt on to the stage from behind an impressive bank of epic floodlights, at least half of the sold out Academy becomes subsumed into a frenzied, swarming mosh pit. Introducing “A Life Less Ordinary” Tim Wheeler wistfully remarks on how Ash’s recent history has been a chequered “rags to riches to rags to riches” story. This year’s Free All Angels album confirmed their status once again as every sixth form pop kid’s band of choice, and on the strength of tonight’s performance, with extremely good reason.

There’s a refreshing artless simplicity to Ash’s live set. From the infectious mantra-like “You turn me on” refrain of “Submission”, to the bulldozing wall of sound guitars that soak through “Goldfinger”: Ash are unstintingly loud, unsubtle and awesomely energetic. Even their omnipresent guitar solos, which are so drowned in the mix you can barely make them out, still portray the sense that if you could hear them they’d be fantastic, and somehow that is enough.

The band, of course, play their parts perfectly. Mark strides around the stage awkwardly wrestling with his bass like it’s an escaped python. Charlotte is somehow impossibly demure and charismatically excitable all at once. And, from behind his well worn drum kit mohicaned Rick makes a mockery of John Lydon’s recent accusations of plastic punk posturing. Tim, armed with his trademark very Metal ‘V’ shaped guitar, is every inch the teenage box-room rock-god, come of age. Of course, delivering a set of such blistering 200mph punk rock proportions comes at a price. Tim’s vocals are frequently to be found struggling against the guitar onslaught, and by the final encore the band’s lack of versatility does come shining through - “Candy” and “Only in Dreams” are the token slowies and stand out as the low points of the set. Such criticism seems churlish however, when Ash are so obviously good at what they do best. They end tonight with “Teenage Kicks” - “an old Irish traditional song” which sums the gig up precisely. Pure, exuberant, power pop at its very finest.

Review from dotmusic