Exclusive ATL Review
It's ATL's 21st Birthday, so it seems about time a cherry was popped. Tonight, however, that cherry belongs to the Stiff Kitten, as it plays host to a live rock band for the first time ever. And it's clear that management are preparing for the worst. We don't want these rocker types drinking beer and getting rowdy. An A3 notice at the front door informs us that there will be "NO CROWDSURFING". Thank goodness for that. And just to be sure, they've employed two doormen to every guest. Or so it seems.
Tonight's support act, the Belfast-based alt rock trio, La Faro, set about stealing Ash's thunder, as they win the coveted title of "first ever band to play the Stiff Kitten". They rattle through a set that lasts little over half an hour. Tonight's crowd seem a little unresponsive to the warm up act, which is unfortunate, as tracks like 'Tupenny Nudger' and 'Scott' are bold and gutsy, and warrant at least a little mayhem, if not a full blown pit. They've got the whole eye candy thing on the go too. Anna breaks out QOTSA-style basslines with the attitude of an early Kim Gordon. And if that doesn't float your boat, Johnny and Alan surely will. Game on.
During the brief interval between bands, there time for some minor celebrity spotting, before MCs Rory and Rigsy introduce headliners Ash. There's no flaming guitars, and there's no Charlotte, but it doesn't detract from the set one bit. The Downpatrick boys started out as a three piece 15 years ago, and the return to this set up has no caused detriment to their sound. The only noticeable difference is in the lack of vocal harmonies in tracks like 'Renegade Cavalcade', but this is of no real consequence. It's a Friday night, and as Tim points out, tonight's show is to a club filled only with winners, so everyone's out to have a good time. The set is a mixture of old and new, with material from the upcoming album - like 'Lose Control' and 'You Can't Have It All' - being tried out on home soil for the first time. It goes down well, despite very few punters being able to sing along. And of course, the old favourites like 'Girl From Mars' and 'Oh Yeah' raise the roof.
As the saying goes, here's to 21 more.