EMMA LEE The Waterfront, Norwich


The Waterfront, Norwich

It's a very long time since audiences in Norwich have been able to see Downpatrick trio Ash play in a venue as intimate as the Waterfront.

But back to being a trio since the departure of Charlotte Hatherley last year, they've re-grouped, written some new material, and are playing a series of low-key dates before they unleash their new album in the summer.

Now pushing 30, and having been together as a band since their teens (singer and guitarist Tim Wheeler and drummer Rick McMurray met at school when they were just 12 - bassist Mark Hamilton was recruited a little later), would Ash version three be all grown-up and serious? No way - from the moment they took to the stage they were pogoing like 13-year-olds who had just heard Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana for the first time.

Despite breaking through during the first coming of Britpop they were never a band to follow the crowd, and stayed true to their grunge roots when all around them were raiding their Beatles and Kinks collections for inspiration.

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And that must be one of the reasons they've lasted the distance while many of their contemporaries have disappeared from the radar.

The band played a greatest hits set which showed how well their back catalogue has aged.

Tracks like Girl From Mars, Petrol, and Kung Fu sounded so fresh it was as if they had been written yesterday.