CONCERT REVIEW: Wishbone Ash in Glasgow, November 13, 2014

It appears intrepid contributor Thomas, led by his personal prog-siren Colin, is going to attend a show in Glasgow every other day for the duration, considering his recent reviews of Pendragon and Steve Rothery. But we like it, so keep ’em coming!

by Thomas Mathie

10716255_10152998581866844_1368985278_nLast night I went with my brother-in-law, Colin, the prog master, to see Wishbone Ash play at the Ferry in Glasgow. I really did not know what to expect; I wasn’t familiar with the band and had only heard a few of their songs on shuffle via Spotify. I had been given a free ticket as a result of my nephew pulling out and just wasn’t prepared for what I was to hear.

With original member Andy Powell on guitar and vocals, backed by the phenomenal Bob Skeat on bass, the talented Muddy Manninen on guitar and the versatile Joe Crabtree on drums, I was simply blown away at how good they were. They powered through their two-and-a-bit-hour set without giving quarter in their particular style of hard, blusey rock.

Wishbone Ash appended the tracklist of a fan-favourite live gig from 1973 with a couple of tracks from their latest album, Blue Horizon. It was a blistering set that highlighted the skill of both Powell and Manninen on guitar — the billed twin lead guitars were on show! Their ability to keep it tight and together was simply a marvel to behold. Their guitar sound, when combined with the phenomenal bass playing of Skeat, was something else altogether; Skeat’s ability with the bass is unsurpassed. His fingers danced up and down the fretboard of his purple five-string Stingray. I could have watched those fingers all night and was caught by Skeat on more than one occasion doing just that. The benefit of being in the front row of the Ferry — I could have high-fived him and nearly got clobbered with said Stingray more than once.

Their rendition of “Phoenix” was the standout track for me. It is such a wonderful journey, one that satiates a proghead like myself. That said, however, I enjoy all that was played, with their renditions of “King Will Come” and “Lady Whiskey” being worthy of note.

Last night Wishbone Ash reminded me about the raw, visceral power of hard rock and really inspired me to dig deeper into both their canon of work and their peers’. Nothing beats bluesy hard rock, especially when it is dark and the sky is heavy with rain. They were exactly what I needed and I am grateful to Colin for his generous gift of a ticket.

Next time Wishbone Ash are in Glasgow, I will be there.

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