Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
Doors 7.30pm | Tickets £25.50 | Theatre
The classic rock bands of the late ’60s and early ’70s enjoy a unique place in popular musical history. The Beatles had gone their separate ways, Britain had already experienced the Blues Boom, and Psychedelia had made its impact. The creative possibilities were infinite. Wishbone Ash embarked on the nascent Progressive Rock scene in 1969, taking full advantage of a fertile musical environment where they produced a distinctive brand of melodic rock. Inspired equally by British folk traditions and American jazz and R&B, the group
played to public and critical acclaim.
Fifty years later, having pioneered the use of twin lead guitars, Wishbone Ash has gained worldwide recognition, based firmly on a regime of relentless touring. The band includes founding member Andy Powell, who handles lead vocals and trades licks with Yorkshire’s Mark Abrahams. Bassist Bob Skeat, a 20+-year veteran of the band, keeps the bottom rocking with Joe Crabtree, one of the best of Britain’s new breed of drummers whose performance credits include Pendragon and David Cross of King Crimson.
Wishbone Ash, the quintessential road band, is an acknowledged influence on many other bands including Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. Power and melody have made the Ash a hard act to follow, while they are currently being discovered by new generations of loyal rock fans. An exceptional recording and touring career has seen Wishbone Ash weather many changes in record labels, personnel and musical trends. Today, the band is still going strong, with most of their vast catalog intact on CD, an award-winning website and a date sheet the envy of many other bands.
Recording highlights are, of course, the multi-million selling 1972 album “Argus,” considered to be one of the all-time classic rock albums, together with “Pilgrimage” (1971) and “New England” (1976). More recently, “The Power of Eternity” (2007), “Elegant Stealth” (2011) and “Blue Horizon” (2014) garnered enthusiastic praise. The band’s biggest seller, “Live Dates” (1973), is one of the highly rated live albums of the 1970s.
There is the box set titled “Distillation” (1993) and also the unplugged album, “Bare Bones” (1999), which shows the softer side of the band. In 2008, at the invitation of XM Satellite Radio in the USA, Wishbone Ash produced a fresh, live recorded performance of the “Argus” classic, in front of a small invited studio audience. The resulting CD, “Then Again Now,” includes bonus tracks like “Way of the World.” In 2009, the band celebrated its 40th anniversary with a show at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire Theatre, which is available on DVD. Also on DVD is a behind-the-scenes
‘rockumentary,’ “This Is Wishbone Ash” (2010), detailing the recording process of “Elegant Stealth” interspersed with concert footage. With 24 studio releases (and a 25th coming out on Feb. 28, 2020), 11 live albums and five live DVDs to date, Wishbone Ash continues to prove they are not a band to rest on their laurels.