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Birmingham concert review - Melody Maker, 20 June 1971 by Dennis Detheridge

 

Make no mistake about it, Wishbone Ash are going to be very big. All the signs were there on Friday night when they played Birmingham Town Hall on their current tour.

 

These four lads got the same kind of recognition with their tightly-knit heavy rock that was given to Zeppelin and Sabbath in their early days.

Appearing before such a wildly enthusiastic audience – one price admission (50p) packed the place – must have given particular satisfaction to Birmingham-born guitarist Ted Turner. His work with fellow lead Andy Powell had all the flair of Jimmy Page with bassist Martin Turner and drummer Steve Upton laying down a beat with Sabbath-like intensity.

 

The opened at a galloping pace with a Brother Jack McDuff number, ‘Vas Dis’, moved on to ‘Blind Eye’, the single taken from their album, then featured Ted on vocals again in ‘Jail Bait’. ‘The Pilgrim’, one of the things for their next album, built up a real raver after a restrained intro, but they managed to maintain a subdued mood throughout an instrumental, ‘Lullaby’.

 

Introduced as a number showing “the violent, aggressive side of Wishbone Ash”, ‘ Phoenix’ proved quite a marathon affair, followed by another title from their LP, ‘Queen of Torture’. Their first encore, ‘Where Were You Tomorrow’, sung by Andy, brought out the idiot dancers. The crowd just would not let them go and they came back to do yet another album track, ‘Lady Whiskey’.

 

Stackridge had got the concert underway with a performance that simply defied the listener to put them into any musical category. There were all kinds of influences, including classical, but their music retained its own identity. After playing their single, ‘Dora The Female Explorer’ and ’32 West Mall’ and’ Oarzo Pad’ from their forthcoming album, the colourful ‘Stark’ brought out the lyrical quality of the Stackridge style. Mick Salter produced some incredibly bird-like effects on his flute and for an encore Michael Evans came into his own playing a jig on his violin at a furious tempo.