On Thursday, 4 September 2008, I drove to Robert L. Standfield Airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia to travel across the Atlantic. Why, you may ask? To see the mighty ASH perform their classic 1977 LP in full at the Roundhouse and Astoria in London, UK. 

I've been an ASH fan since I was 13 years old.  That might not seem like such a big deal for most people, but given the fact that I somehow managed to get ahold of Trailer in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, before the advent of the internet is pretty remarkable (sidenote - my best friend's brother was at university and a door to door cd salesman would come by peddling his wares.  The brother said Nirvana was his favorite band, and the guy recommended Trailer.  I 'borrowed' the cd about 2 months later, and still have it to this day. Sorry, Kent and Adam).  I was in the fanclub, had my own fansite devoted to them, traded tapes with people from all corners of the planet, and pretty much worshipped the ground they walked on....despite the fact that I'd never seen them live, seen their music videos, etc.  I finally got to see the band live in 2003 at a tiny club in Boston, and saw them again a year later in Toronto and Montreal.  These shows were pure magic, to be sure....however, I didn't feel like I'd have the full ASH experience until I'd seen them in the UK (and specifically the Astoria, for obvious nerd reasons).  So when Tim and Mark spilled the beans in May that they were re-releasing 1977 and playing a special show, I started making arrangements.  Mark told me I'd be on the guestlist (and I only emailed him about 30 times to confirm that I was on the guestlist for both shows...thanks for your patience!).

I arrived at the airport and made my way through all of the hoops and found myself with a bunch of time to kill. Starbucks was closed, so I was denied a chai latte with soy milk...rats.  I tried reading a Murakami book with an ASH related title (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World), but I was far too excited to get much done.  I recognized a girl from my high school who has since turned into a professional model and apparently hangs with Mick Jagger and other people.  Needless to say that when we boarded the plane we were sitting in different classes.

Since the plane was due to take off at 11:35 pm and I was going to land in London at 9:35 am, I had hoped to catch some sleep whilst crossing the Atlantic.  This was not going to happen.  I was sat beside an extremely friendly lady who was afraid of flying and as such wanted to talk the entire flight.  I watched her husband and 2 kids fall asleep and wished I could be in happy happy dreamland myself.  No dice.

I landed in London and got through customs in no time. I was tired, but happy.  The master Jedisteve had given me great directions to the hotel (more on that later), so I was on the tube and on my way into London in no time.  After having navigated the subway in NYC when I visited the guys months before, I felt pretty confident. Of course, when I got off at the right stop, I walked in the direction opposite the hotel.  It was drizzling and I had no coat.  Awesome.  I finally got myself turned around and found the Hoxton Urban Lounge.  Looking like a drowned rat with sleepless eyes, I ordered a cup of tea and waited for my friends to arrive.  My mobile was not working, and so I just enjoyed the quiet time.  At some point I noticed a blonde pregnant woman walk into the Hoxton...wonder who that could be.  Wull showed up before too long, and it was like meeting an old friend (despite the fact that I'd never met him before!).  Mikeymoko showed up shortly, and it was like a mini Ash board family reunion.  It was great to finally meet these guys after years of talking online, and we got on famously.  Wull was dead tired himself, and we decided to get more coffee and tea.  We talked shit for a while.  Tav showed up and said hello, and then Tim bounded out of the elevator on the way to soundcheck.  We decided we were up for some food and drink, and made our way out and about.  We ended up at a place called the Drunken Monkey which was home to one of the most strangely dressed servers ever.  Owens_Angel showed up at the pub and even more shit was talked, and the beginning of me being in stitches from Owens_Angel began.  We got word that Mike, Laura, the Jedi and Ms. Jedi were back at the Hoxton and so we went back for them. 

The Hoxton is not a hotel. It is an Urban Lounge.  The rooms were pretty incredible - really hip design, great lighting, cool atmosphere.  It was pretty steep, but it was well worth it.  Amazing showers, as well.

How can you not like a place like this?

More happy times as I got to meet my email comrade jedisteve (there are days that we email each other 5-10 joke) and his lovely Nik (Ms. Jedi).  It was also great to meet old schoolers Mike and Laura who would be my sort-of tour guides the next day.  There were also Jedi parents there, proving that ASH transcend the ages...great people.

Attractive men making attractive faces.

We caught the tube down to the Roundhouse (Owens_Angel, the only person who lives in London, got off at the wrong stop) and went in search of food.  Jedisteve stopped off to pick up his AAA pass and we heard the lads practicing Darkside Lightside and Sneaker.  Now for food...we ended up at Nando's, which I have heard is a favorite haunt of a certain Mark Hamilton.  It was a terrific meal (veggie burgers and hot sauce! yes!), with comedy provided by Owens_Angel yet again...and the night was still young.

We went to the Barfly for a few drinks before moseying over to the Roundhouse.  This is one of the most asthetically pleasing venues I'd ever seen.  There was some pretty serious energy in the air. Will and I made a pact that we'd be up front for the entire show....Mike and Laura braved the barrier as well (Laura ended up with some SERIOUS bruises, ouch!).  The opening band did a pretty good job considering the daunting task.  I started seeing more boarders - Fireska, Rojo, Cosmic, Pinkhandbag, Punk Girl...this was cool.  Excitement hit an all-time peak when Storm Troopers and Vader came out on the stage....this was going to get crazy.

The band came out to the Star Wars theme, and then the lights went down while the infamous tie fighter Lose Control intro played.  The next little bit is a blur...lots of sweat, moshing, and more crowd surfing than I had ever seen before.  The band were extremely tight, and in the hazy fury of the pit I realized just how strong the sequencing was on that record.  Goldfinger went down particularly well, I remember.  It was great to see the Silver Jet back in action, as well.  The 1977 set seemed to go by very quickly...a little too quickly for my liking.  Tim even made reference to this by saying "I can't believe it's all over...we should have made a longer album".  At one point Tim gave me a nod in the crowd which made me feel like a million bucks.  During Angel Interceptor Wull and I grabbed hands and sang our hearts o

Added on 16/09/2008 by Chad