ASHES OF AUTUMN – ‘SUPERNOVA’ SINGLE LAUNCH
Photos by Andrew Thompson and Photo Galleries by Pete Gardner Photography
Interviewed before the launch of Ashes Of Autumn’s second single, ‘Supernova’, guitarist and song writer, Mat Kenworthy said, “We wrote ‘Supernova’ to be a set opener.” True to his word, that’s exactly what his band did at The Rosemount last Friday, kicking off a stellar set with a punchy rendition of the song they’d come to The Rosemount to spring on the world.
If you haven’t had a chance to see Ashes Of Autumn just yet, I highly recommend you take the time to rectify your lack of live music acumen.
It was a pretty gutsy thing to do. Most bands hold back their new stuff until at least second or third song in, usually quite a bit later in their set, to give themselves a chance to settle and for their audience to get into the groove. Not so Ashes Of Autumn, who are beginning to gain a reputation for doing things differently and backing themselves. It’s good to see in a town where things can sometimes feel all little bit same-same.
From kicking off with their new single to closing with their first, ‘Let Go’, which sounds so much better live than it does on the slightly dodgy demo they released in March 2020, Ashes Of Autumn gave everything they had tonight and, considering they have a substantial arsenal to draw on, that was more than enough.
Fronted by Melanie Flynn, a singer and performer who has the lot — the voice, the heart, the moves — Ashes Of Autumn are a powerful live outfit that plays with pedal to the floor for as long as the stage will hold them. Theirs is high octane rock and roll that’s laden with meaning and delivered in a slick, albeit unadorned, package of twin guitars, bass, drums and, of course, the vocals. They rock with the best of them and have presence that touches the sky. Yes, tonight they just about blew the roof off the Rosemount’s main room.
The main takeaway for me is this band’s authenticity. Ashes Of Autumn ride on Flynn’s mesmerising performance out front, her charisma and guile carrying not just the power and the passion of this band, but also every moment of living she’s done right up to performance time. Speaking about her craft before the show, Flynn said, “I definitely feel that that’s entirely one hundred per cent me. I can’t act that, it it’s just an extension of me, it’s what music does.”
A lot of singers will tell you that and, mostly, it’s true, but Flynn holds absolutely nothing back. You can see it in her eyes while she’s singing and moving on stage; she creates a wave of emotion that carries Ashes Of Autumn’s audience with it.
Then there’s the on-stage chemistry between Flynn and guitarist Mat Kenworthy. On his own, Kenworthy is a sight to behold, caressing and pummelling sounds from his white Strat like there’s going to be no tomorrow. Put him alongside Flynn and actual sparks begin to fly.
Rhythm guitar is provided by Bryn Haythornthwaite, with bass and drums laid down by Jez Thompson and Ferret. You can’t underestimate what these three bring to Ashes Of Autumn. Without this dependable undercarriage doing all the heavy lifting, this plane just wouldn’t fly and, on this night, they just about broke out of Earth’s atmosphere. No band can reach such heights without the deftness and dependability of a great rhythm section, and that’s just what Ashes Of Autumn have got.
If you haven’t had a chance to see Ashes Of Autumn just yet, I highly recommend you take the time to rectify your lack of live music acumen. No life is complete without going to one of their shows; and then try stopping at just one. 2021 will be Ashes Of Autumn’s year, do yourself a favour and make it yours, too.
The main support spot tonight was filled by Hailmary, who demonstrated yet again why they would have to be just about one of the best hard rock outfits on this planet, bar none. Led by the enigmatic, the charismatic, Kev Curran, Hailmary played a set that left the Rosemount audience breathless and wanting more. What made their feats all the more impressive was that this was only their second gig with guitarist Dan Connell, he of Amberdown and now Hailmary as well.
Apparently, this band can’t have too many guitarists in whose hands guitars look like tiny bits of matchwood. There are times, watching Hailmary, when you think those poor little instruments will splinter under the strain of all the work they’re made to do. Hailmary proved again tonight just how good they are on stage. Why they aren’t massive in the US and Europe is entirely beyond my ken.
Zorah stepped up second on the bill and played a refreshing brand of shoegazey dreampop that took regular excursions into the heavier more proggy side of things. This was my first taste of a band I felt could accomplish anything — one of those beautiful surprises you get when you take the time to check out the support acts — every now and then a sparkling gem like Zorah pops up. Having to deal with a mid-set equipment malfunction did not let any of the air out of their tyres and was a sign of the sort of on-stage aplomb that should serve this combo well in the future.
Opening act, High Altitude Hebrews, managed to pull out every single cliché from the rock and roll playbook during their short set. There’s a lot of promise here and, when they learn to be themselves, they could just be just about anything.
Check out Ashes Of Autumn’s upcoming live dates here.
Photo galleries by Pete Gardner Photography