City Slang: The Hounds Below warm up Ash

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The last time I saw Ash, it was at the Reading Festival in the UK in 2007. Already by that point, the Northern Irish band that Hounds Below man Jason Stollsteimer describes as “Britain’s Weezer” were no longer the festival headliners that they were for a brief moment in the early 2000’s, but they were still performing in front of a couple of thousand rabid fans.

Now, it may be the case that Ash were never as big in the States as they were across the Atlantic but, still, in their prime they were playing to a packed St. Andrews’s Hall. Tonight, the Magic Stick main stage is curtained off, and there about thirty people (rough estimate) stood in the lounge section to watch Ash and the Hounds Below. Yes, it’s a cold Wednesday. Yes, as Stollsteimer points out from the stage, people are normally watching Survivor. But still, it seems a shame, especially considering the quality of the music on offer.

Our boys the Hounds do us proud. Tim Wheeler of Ash later points out that the Von Bondies are “my favorite Detroit band since the Temptations”, but the Hounds are fast leaving Stollsteimer’s past firmly in the, umm, past. Hot on the heels on their killer performance on the SXSW Blowout Stage in Austin, the band proves yet again that it is one of the hottest bands in Detroit right now, and certainly one of those with a greater chance of national success.”

In an alt-rock market featuring the likes of the Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons, the Hounds Below should be able to rope in a few fans. They are just as epic, just as anthemic, and just as goose-pimple-inducing. They sound both current and very Detroit, and that’s a killer combination.

Ash were great tonight. Songs like “Burn Baby Burn” and the ever-awesome “Kung Fu” sound as amazing in front of a sparse few as they at a big festival. But still, the Hounds matched them step for step.


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