Electric Picnic review: Ash – A proper punk-pop gig
Older hits, such as Girl from Mars, fuse easily with the veteran band’s newer tunes
Ash: Tim Wheeler and the rest of the band still play music that packs a fine punch. Photograph: Dave Meehan
It has been a while since Ash played a major stage at a major festival, yet here they are, a band whose demeanour is like that of a smiling cat with a few lives left. That they have gone in and out of favour over the past decade is perhaps more a matter of changing tastes in music than any lapse in quality control. Rarely have a band been as focused and results-driven, and although the music sticks closely to the classic blueprint of sweet-toothed Phil Spector-produced songs played with all the vigour of a pair of teenagers about to pop their respective cherries, there is innate charm to it. Now an improbable 20-plus years into their career (which began when they were school friends in Northern Ireland), they still play music that packs a fine punch. Older hits, such as Oh Yeah (much more summer-friendly than briskly-breezy-early-autumn-evening-friendly), Shining Light and Girl from Mars fuse easily enough with newer tunes, such as Buzzkill, Annabel and All That I Have Left. The result is a crowd-friendly, proper punk-pop gig that proves teenage dreams – and kicks – can come true, and endure.