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Wishbone Ash Jail Bait: 'one of the best rock riffs of all time'

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Wishbone Ash at Arlington Arts on Saturday, November 6. Review by BRIAN HARRINGTON

Wishbone Ash were formed in 1969 and were pioneers in British progressive rock, showcasing a twin lead guitar sound which remains a hallmark of their style today.

The lead guitars create an ever-shifting soundscape, sometimes working together and sometimes in counterpoint to each other, they weave melodies which often have an almost Celtic influence, but which encompass many genres rhythmically.

Wishbone Ash picture Brian Harrington
Wishbone Ash picture Brian Harrington

This was the Andy Powell incarnation of the band as opposed to the Martin Turner one, which has performed at Arlington Arts previously.

Wishbone Ash came to some prominence in 1970 when they were chosen to support Deep Purple on tour.

Opening with the excellent instrumental Bona Fide, the title track of their 19th studio album, which was released in 2002 they followed-up with barely a pause with Enigma from the same album before launching in to Eyes Wide Open from 2006 before Andy Powell joked “you must be wondering when we are going to play some of the old stuff, the answer is now” and striking-up The King Will Come and Warrior from their 1972 Argos album.

Wishbone Ash picture Brian Harrington
Wishbone Ash picture Brian Harrington

We Stand As One from the 2020 album Coat Of Arms was superb, while Phoenix from their eponymous 1970 debut album was epic and, as Andy so eloquently put it, describes Wishbone perfectly, they keep regenerating from the ashes.

Interestingly tonight they were rejoined by the excellent Mike Sturgis on percussion, who played with them in the mid 90s, but has also seen stints with Asia and 21 Guns, among others.

Tonight was just his second show back with Wishbone Ash.

In a one-hour-45-minute single set, without an interval, they finished with a stunning three-song encore comprising Way Down South from the 2014 Blue Horizon album, followed by Blowing Free and finally Jail Bait, a track with, in my view, one of the best rock riffs of all time.

Superb musicianship which received a rapturous reception from a packed Arlington Arts.

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