It was a sudden unexpected return, after 12 years Irish trio from Downpatrick – Ash made a comeback to Jakarta. Last time they were here was in September 2001, when Charlotte Hatherley was still around. Now they are back as the only headliner of 280 Festival which the ticket box was opened only 3 weeks before the D-Day. They arrived in Jakarta on Thursday November 22nd 8 pm, I greeted them in the airport and they looked quite different than 12 years ago (for sure…) except Tim who stays almost the same. Aside from his tall posture, I almost didn’t recognize Mark, his hair was way longer than I imagined. With such a short period of announcement, they dragged not too many people, probably only less than 2000 people. However that makes the gig much more intimate because only die-hard fans would make it there. Some faces were seen in 2001 and lots of storytelling about what happened 12 years ago were much overheard around.
Seems like 280 Festival in November 23rd 2013 was actually Ash concert with 5 local opening acts including The Aftermiles, Rock n’ Roll Mafia and Pandai Besi. They went on-stage at 9 pm, this time only Tim, Mark and Rick, without Charlotte. ‘Meltdown’ opened the setlist, I was in the front row and I can see Mark played his bass energetically. The crowd went crazier when the lights get dimmer and intro of ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ started, a time-marker when Charlotte joined the crew before the launch of their second LP ‘Nu-Clear Sounds’. Tim’s Flying-V doesn’t change, except it’s getting busier because he had to cover for Charlotte’s part too.
Back to 1977 album, the first line sang by Tim “Do you remember the time we knew a Girl From Mars?” their anthem-of-the-era made me jump and bump into the barricade, continued with ‘Oh Yeah’ a song which made it to the famous MTV Alternative Nation vol.1 compilation. Felt like being thrown back into 1997! “This is our last gig for this year, so Thank You for all of you who are coming tonight. We’re going to play the first song from Free All Angels album” yes it was ‘Walking Barefoot’ continued with another their big-hit ‘Kung Fu’ where people sang along louder. We cooled down with ‘Sometimes’. It fitted the outdoor windy atmosphere “Sometimes it happens feelings die.. Whole years are lost in the blink of an eye…” such a soothing moment of the concert. Ash kicked-off again with ‘Joy Kicks Darkness’ and ‘Shining Light’ with its wavy guitar interlude. Setlist was ended with ‘Return of White Rabbit’ after Tim introduced the whole band and thanked the crowd once more.
We want encore, and Ash gave us one! 4 songs were prepared, began with ‘Lose Control’ and ‘Angel Interceptor’ which gave me a sentimental moment, recalling their typical 90s video with playing instruments in bedroom scene, such a youthful feeling I wouldn’t forget. The last song for encore was no less than ‘Burn Baby Burn’ where they gave all the energy left. It’s amazing to see the stamina they performed that night, yet amazing to realized that we watched Ash once more almost in the same venue. “We wish to see you again very soon!” Tim said before they left the stage. “I hope Tim Wheeler won’t ever stop writing songs” said Made Indar, a local indie-guitarist and an Ash superfan who claimed that Ash made him picked-up his guitar for the very first time.