Review By:  Deirdre Lennon
Photo’s By : Keiran Frost

Ash and Republic of Loose took to the stage in Andrew’s Lane Theatre last Saturday in what was claimed to be a secret Paddy’s Day gig. Nobody who attended the gig seemed to mind that it was 3 days later than our national holiday, due to the fact that there was free Jameson and plenty of 7up given out by rather attractive women. While the objectification of women isn’t something I’m usually a fan of, it seemed ok in this capacity. But come on 7up, where was the gender balance?! The concert was hosted as part of the ru7up4it project which was a competition for a group of Irish abroad to come home courtesy of 7up Free for the craic..

Now to the concert itself. Not to sound like I’m old before my time (the hearing aid will be installed next week), but the sound levels were very poor for Republic of Loose. Perhaps this was because of the intimacy of the venue, and it meant the band didn’t sound as good as they usually would. Some of the vocals weren’t as audible as they could have been.

Nevertheless, the first of the night’s acts put on a fantastic show, coming on stage in a pretty casual way and singing a selection of their most well known hits, such as Come Back Girl, 13 Shots and I Like Music. The crowd took a while to warm up and Mick Pyro was visibly put out by the lack of dancing and reaction. However, as the hits came one after the other, (some notable inclusions being Awful Cold and The Steady Song), and as the Jameson and 7up began to kick in, people began to enter into the revelry, and Pyro and his sequinned companions were appreciative of the crowds’ efforts.

By the time Ash came on stage, opening their set with the electric Lose Control, the crowd had geared up for someserious rocking, and the boys from Downpatrick lived up to their reputation. The trio are embarking on a European and State side tour in April, May and June to promote the new singles from the A-Z series.

The band mixed their own creations with other pop-punk favourites, and an audible cheer arose when the opening chords of Teenage Kicks rang out in the venue early in the set. The sound problems seemed to have been rectified as they produced hit after hit of their back catalogue such as Kung Fu and Shining Light, mixed with their newer material from their A-Z singles like Neon. They ended the main set with Girl from Mars and Return of White Rabbit.

Ash gave a more than satisfactory encore, giving the crowd three more tunes instead of the requested “one more”. Their first was Arcadia, and then to celebrate the holiday that was in it, they sang a much-loved Irish hit. The highlight for me was undoubtedly the joint performance with Republic of Loose of Whiskey in the Jar, which caused drink spillages due to the excited rocking out bodies singing the chorus back to the assembled bands. Appropriately enough, we continued to swig back our Jameson until the jar was empty and the collaboration over. Ash closed the show with an exhilarating performance of Burn Baby Burn and before leaving the stage Tim decided to get one more rousing chorus from Whiskey in the Jar sung back to him by the crowd. The chosen few left the venue feeling like they had finished the Paddy’s Day celebrations in style.

Image Gallery by Keiran Frost (Click to Enlarge)