Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wishbone Ash -- Ram's Head Tavern - Apr 25 2012

Wishbone Ash - There is nothing more terrifying for me than starting a review of a progressive or straight rock band from the early 1970s. Prog fans will dissect every word for possible error, unlike readers from most any other genre. Thankfully, they are nice people who respect you well enough if you admit what little you know about Steve Hackett for instance. At least with Wishbone Ash, I know their first three studio albums well, grew up on "Live Dates", and am a big fan of their third album "Argus". This is my first time seeing them in their form down to one original member, Andy Powell on vocals and guitar (still playing that Flying Vee). Although there are some negatives that I will not bother to get into that has resulted in a Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash still active in the UK, Powell's Wishbone Ash has kept it going with lots of touring and a recent album which they sampled tonight. I felt the newer songs were fine, but not too dazzling and not quite as good as the new songs I heard from Uriah Heep for instance. But they played plenty of older cuts and displayed all the sharp guitar work and double leads that the band is known for. The older stuff sounded quite good, although Mart Turner's vocals are missed (provided he can even hit those notes these days). Powell still sings well and still trades and mirrors excellent leads with Finnish guitar ace, Muddy Manninen. The drummer also has a nice touch with the cymbals especially and keeps things moving forward. But those double leads are the succulent treats, especially on "Phoenix". I don't know the band's full history very well, but I am guessing they have been closing with this monster for most shows in the last forty plus years. Two hours later, their older fan base was still jumping and screaming enough that I was wondering if some cardio monitoring would not be welcome. Although a bit scary and amusing, this sure beats the hands in he pockets attitude of the cool cynical hip crowds. And with fans like this and a healthy strong sound, Wishbone Ash will come, again.
Set List: The King Will Come - Warrior - Can't Go it Alone - Open Road - Lady Jay - Sometime World - Warm Tears? (new album cut) - Faith Hope & Love - The Pilgrim - Reason to Believe - Invisible Thread - Jailbait - Phoenix - Encores: I don't know (Living Proof?) - Blowin' Free

Quote of the Night: from Andy Powell... "We love this town... are we playing Pittsburgh? (boos) They don't call it Pitts... burgh for nothing."

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