Ash are well and truly back

Given the speed with which new acts emerge and graduate to playing the UK's larger venues it's easy to forget a band like Ash, especially when they go away for a couple of years to work on a new record. Now they're back, minus Charlotte Hatherley, and are touring a few smaller venues showing off their new material. Room Thirteen checked them out at Newcastle's Northumbria University.

This wasn't a flash gig by any stretch of the imagination. Northumbria Uni's student union is a small venue meaning even if you stood right at the back you were as close to the band on a stage as you'll be for a good while. Ash's performance was equally straight forward as they blasted through a setlist which had something for everyone and was as much a reminder of what has made them such a great live act with a large and passionate following as a preview of their forthcoming new album.

Given that people near where I was standing were shouting for 'Shining Light' there might have been some leaving disappointed they didn't hear the 2001 classic, but the die-hard Ash fan would have found themselves spoilt for choice with the amount of hits on show. 'Burn Baby Burn', 'Jesus Says', 'Orpheus', 'Goldfinger', 'Life Less Ordinary', 'Oh Yeah' and 'Girl From Mars' all appeared in what was a career spanning setlist.

The new album is said to be lyrically darker and musically more pop than 'Meltdown'. It's hard to pass judgment on the lyrics on the strength of one gig but from a musical point of view the new Ash LP is certain to be one of the releases of 2007. It seems they're likely to be spoilt for choice for singles with plenty of radio friendly catchy rock tracks on offer but the stand out was the song which closed the main set which is best described as 'Epic'...intrigued?

The Newcastle fans were treated to a handful of 'Meltdown' moments with 'Renegade Cavalcade' getting the best reaction.

The gig was rounded off with the '1977' anthem 'Kung-Fu' which is always a perfect way to end the night.

Ash are already lined up for the Isle of Wight Festival and expect them to appear at more throughout the summer. Given that the world of music is a better one when Ash are touring a new record they're a must see for 2007.