30 March 2009

Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash do Argus

There are two versions of the classic 70's band Wishbone Ash gigging at the moment and they are both playing the album Argus!

Last year I went to see "Wishbone Ash", led by original lead guitarist Andy Powell, and last week I went to see "Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash", led by, er, Martin Turner, the original bassist.

The venue was the 100 Club on London's Oxford Street which is a great place to see bands as it has a fairly low stage that you can get right up next to - no crash barriers here. The bar is reasonable too.

Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash line up had Dave Wagstaffe on drums at the back and Martin Turner front-centre on bass flanked by the twin lead guitars of Ray Hatfield and Danny Willson. That tells you this is a rock band!

The stage at the 100 Club is a good size (though I am more used to seeing large bands like Space Ritual and Stackridge trying to squeeze on to it) and this gaves all three guitarists plenty of space to move around, swap places and jam together.

The set opened with a collection of old favourites, including Blind Eye, Pilgrim and Persephone.

If you are an Ash fan then this is just the sort of stuff that you want to hear, and there were a lot of serious Ash fans there judging by the impressive collection of old t-shirts and the enthusiastic singing.

There were some young people there and some women too but the defining demographic was definitely middle-aged male, myself included!

After a set of around 45 minutes the band took a break before returning to give us Argus, their classic album from 1972.

Argus was their third album and was in the middle of their early run of five excellent studio albums and one live album that they made before they moved to the USA and started to produce typical American style soft-rock.

Very quickly it was 1972 again and most of us were bouncing (rockers do not dance) and singing to a superb performance of memorable songs.

The interplay between the band was good to watch and good to hear as the two lead guitars swapped riffs, applauded each other's solos and even played the same guitar with one hand each.

The band clearly enjoyed playing and were getting into the music as much as we were and the enjoyment on and off stage was infectious.

All too soon Argus was over, and the encore only delayed the inevitable end, but it was a very happy crowd that eased its way out of the 100 Club into the cold London night.


  1. I heard Mart's voice was so-so......again...

  2. Mart's voice was absolutely fine. I was there. I wouldn't expect a man in his 60th year to be able to belt out rock songs like he did in his prime but he did an excellent job. The other band members sang brilliantly also. It's not an easy thing to sing and play intricate bass/guitar lines. Well done MTWA. The material of Wishbone Ash sounds better with this particular line up IMHO. Martin Turner's bass playing and vocals are essential for a truer Wishbone Ash experience.


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