Ash wrap up a day of great music at Kendal Calling with a moving set

Kendal Calling 2009 review

published: Tue 11th Aug 2009

Ash

Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August 2009
Lowther Estate, Kendal, East Cumbria, England MAP
£70 - SOLD OUT
last updated: Mon 27th Jul 2009

Jeremy Warmsley
Having been tipped off early in the day, Jeremy Warmsley's low-key set on the Kaylied Stage was my opener of choice, and what a choice it was. Looking for all the world like Graham Coxon's geekier brother, and with a sound not too dissimilar to the Blur frontman's solo material, Warmsley's infectious, intelligent sounds proved a great way to start the final day of this magnificent little festival.

Comeback kings Cornershop may have been unfairly packed into the box marked '90's One Hit Wonders', but there is much more to them than just 'Brimful of Asha', as they proved with today's tremendous Main Stage set. The band opened with a low-key take on 'Sleep on the Left Side' before hitting their stride with 'The Role of Characteristics' and their beautiful take on 'Norwegian Wood' defining the set. Despite his deadpan delivery, frontman Tjinder Singh held the steadily growing crowd rapt, and proved why those in the know continue to rate this band long after their Britpop heyday.

Chris Helme
If it had read 'former Seahorses frontman' on the line-up, you can be sure Chris Helme would have played in front of a much larger crowd in the Kaylied Tent. As it was, the sparsely populated tend observed a heartfelt set from a solo Helme. 'Morning Sun' was as beautiful as they come, whilst his cover of The Soledad Brothers' 'Lorali' was simply bewitching. Humble, accessible and dedicated to giving the crowd everything, Helme's talent for putting on a wonderful show armed with just an acoustic guitar and his stunning voice showed that there was more than one big talent in his former band.

Kasms
London shriekbeat quartet Kasms certainly know how to make an impact. Turn up, kick the shit out of a thirty minute set in a packed tent, then get kicked out of a festival, all the while garnering more press than they have in their short history. Rachel Mary Callaghan is the definitive frontwoman, screaming with vitriolic intent through the highlights from Kasms' debut longplayer 'Spayed', including recent single 'Bone You' and the electroclash-esque 'Male Bonding'. It was only during their final number that it all went a little wrong, with Callaghan diving headlong into the drumkit, much to the chagrin of an overzealous stage manager, who wasted no time in removing the band from the site once the dust had settled. By that time however, the damage, and one of the sets of the weekend, was well and truly done.

Idlewild
Now the elder-statesmen of the Scottish indie scene, Idlewild have the ability to draw upon an astounding array of music with which to make up a set. However, this hasn't stopped them from being branded as 'difficult' in their past set choices. Today though, they clearly got out of the right side of the bed, and delivered a definitive, single packed set which delighted the massed ranks of fans in attendance. 'When I Argue I See Shapes', 'You Held The World In Your Arms' and the always awesome 'Roseability' received the ovations, and the singalongs, they deserved, whilst 'In Remote Part' and 'American Engish' were as heart-rending and as beautiful in the live setting as they are on record.

An Ash festival set is always something to look forward to, and tonight proved no different. Opening with 'Walking Barefoot', they kicked off in mellower than usual fashion, but it didn't take long for the boys to kick it up a gear or six, following as they did with the fan-pleasing triptych of 'Girl From Mars', 'A Life Less Ordinary', and the fantastic 'Goldfinger'. Keeping the fans happy was clearly the order of the day tonight, and the career spanning set somehow managed to keep everyone moving as the temperatures in Penrith started to drop. 'Orpheus' and 'Kung Fu' were the undoubted highlights of the set, and with the crowd bouncing throughout, the back to back screamers.

Ash
With Ash currently plotting an audacious 26 singles in 52 weeks from September, new material was always bound to feature in the set tonight. 'Space Shot' is a funky, bass driven slab of agit-pop in the classic Ash mould, whilst 'True Love 1980' displays the band's softer side. By far the highlight of the new music on offer tonight, however, was 'Return of the White Rabbit'. A pounding electro-disco beat underpins this apparent change of direction for Ash. Featuring synth-kits and keys, and Mark Hamilton putting in a career defining bass performance, 'Return of the White Rabbit' might just be their best work yet, and closed the set proper in stunning fashion.

A three-song encore included a rare outing for 'Lose Control', along with 'Jack Names The Planets' and 'Burn Baby Burn', before the band bid an emotional farewell and announced that they'll be back on the road in October. As one of the most consistent bands on the UK circuit, it's good to have them back.

Ash
review by: Tommy Jackson

photos by: Tommy Jackson

Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August 2009
Lowther Estate, Kendal, East Cumbria, England MAP
£70 - SOLD OUT
last updated: Mon 27th Jul 2009


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