Words, videos and photos Kim Anderson – Shoot The Wicked Witch.
This month there was a clash of gigs I’d applied for and my pass for Ash came through first. Leading up to it knowing all my photographer mates would be at The Wombats show I was thinking “geez have I made the right choice?” and the answer is YES. Yes I did. With bands that have been around as long as Ash there’s always some trepidation if you haven’t seen a band live before that they might not be any good live, or what if they aren’t as good as they were back in the days of Britpop, have they got old and lost their ability to hit the right notes or have any stage presence? Well they are awesome live, sound amazing and Tim Wheeler is a fantastic frontman. 18 year old me was ecstatic!!
I took my buddy with me and while we waited for the doors to open (they were running late) we talked about life and Hawaiian shirts. Especially given the doorway was quite warm and how great wearing one of those shirts would have been right then. Ironically later when Ash stepped on stage Tim was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It was a definite lol moment.
The opening act were Perth band Big Orange. I’d never heard of them before last night because I live under a rock but they were a really good indie band and a great start to the night. It’s nothing at all what I normally listen too but I tell you what, they could sway me away from the punk scene.
As soon as they were off the stage everyone moved forward ready for Ash. I took that opportunity to grab a drink before all chances of getting back to the stage were gone. As the band came out Tim was in his pineapple shirt, combed hair and ‘stash for Mo’vember and looked like he should be back in the 1970’s ready for the neighbourhood BBQ. Bassist Mark Hamilton on the other hand looked like he stepped straight out of 1996. They opened with ‘True Story’ off their new album Islands and the rest of the set list was a mix of old and new. The hardest part about being a music photographer after the ‘3 song rule’ is complete and you have to leave the pit is do I wonder about the room and pretend to get other angles which I should being a photographer (by pretend I mean I’m ridiculously short compared to most of the room and I didn’t really have much chance of succeeding) or do I stand by the pit entrance and enjoy the show. I always end up staying by the pit. For one thing the crowd was solid, but also being short means I’m not actually blocking anyone’s view either. I had a bit of anxiety leading up to this gig knowing they had VIP tickets after a nasty VIP encounter two weeks prior but I can say quite happily that nobody in this crowd gave a shit I had a camera, they only cared about the band on stage and they sang and danced along to every single song. The highlight for me was hearing ‘Oh Yeah’ live and I had a giggle when they started playing Cantina Band half way through their set. Now normally at a show nobody gives a rats ass about the bass player, it’s just a fact because few bass players stand out, Mark on the other hand is hypnotizing. We both agreed after the show we’ve never seen a bass player like him and I called his playing “Bass Yoga”. If he’s not almost doing the splits on the ground, the bass is in the air facing the wrong direction, then its back down, then he’s jerking around and for the entire time I’m wondering how he’s hasn’t skipped a single note. They finished the night with ‘Burn Baby Burn’ and said good night to the crowd. When the roadie came out and started tuning the guitar I had a feeling an encore might be happening but I was boiling and needed some air. They did come back out for two more songs though which I’m more than sure the crowd appreciated.