28th March 2014
Ash Mammal at the Original Bands Showcase – The Musician
By Adrian Manning
I came to see Ash Mammal this evening, having heard both their ‘Ash Over Oaklands’ EP and their recently released CD ‘Bloodsugar’. The music on these releases is fantastic, so the prospect of seeing them live was an exciting one.
Ash Mammal appeared third on the bill of four acts and it would be unfair to place any one band above the other in terms of billing and, being a competition, it was a random choice of stage times.
Matchstick Men played first and kicked the evening off well, getting the crowd warmed up and, with a good selection of numbers, set a high standard. A young band that will no doubt get better with more experience on stage, but certainly one to keep an eye open for.
Della Grants came next and they really rocked the blues with a lot of blood in the riffs and licks. Their greater experience was easy to see and they really got the crowd stomping with a fiery set and a lively show. I like my blues full of passion and this was definitely evident in a set that both band and crowd clearly enjoyed.
Ash Mammal arrived and opened their set with the lively ‘Manic Observation’ following it with ‘Motel Hanky Panky’ from their aforementioned debut album – a good pair of numbers to get into their set. Dan Rhodri Gould twists and spits his lyrics out over a tight musical combo and it’s the originality in his voice that first captured my attention. Listening to them on record and seeing them live highlights how young they are but also how mature they sound. Dan is a born frontman – made up, long hair tied back and twisting and shaking around the stage. Comfortable with all shades of his sexuality he plays to the girls and boys. Reminding me of a young Michael Stipe and at one point Ziggy era Bowie with his arm around bassist Jeeves Kanth, he is clearly having a ball and that is infectious. Guitarist George Shaw picks out great melodies and Anya Greengrass is a powerhouse on drums. At only 16 years old she hits the drums with such force, even in only her sock, that her foot pedal breaks halfway through the set! The most exciting drummer of the evening, head shaking and hair flailing she provides a great back beat for Shaw and Kanth.
Next on the set came ‘Ash Over Oaklands’ from the first EP and, the first Ash Mammal song I fell in love with, it is a favourite with the rest of the audience too. Followed with ‘Tuck n Roll’, the crowd start to mosh around the front of the stage and youth and the spirit of rock n roll is here in its full glory. George Shaw takes a vocal turn later in the set with ‘Power Of A Girl’ and the set climaxes with Gold bringing to close an exciting, sometimes a little loose, set that both band and audience have enjoyed in unison.
The name of the contest is Original Band Showcase and even though they didn’t win on the night, in my mind Ash Mammal were the most original band and I look forward to seeing how they progress further – they could go far!
Finishing the night were Tapestry – the eventual winners of this heat – who were extremely accomplished musically and performed some really interesting fusion pieces. Again, very popular with the crowd, they went down a storm and ended the evening in fine style.
Matchstick Men and Ash Mammal were called back to the show on 12th April for a another chance to get into the semi-finals.
What was evident throughout the night was that there is so much variety and talent around in Leicester and looking at the ages of these bands they can only get better!
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