WEEKEND MUSIC: Monsters of musical history

GigCity Edmonton Wishbone Ash

Wishbone Ash is still going strong

Wishbone Ash is a band known more for its influence on others than its own music, the Mudhoney of its day – holding a place in music history in the vanguard of the progressive rock movement that developed in the late ‘60s.

In short, right place, right time.

Luck was with these lads. When the British band landed an opening spot for Deep Purple in 1970, Wishbone frontman Andy Powell strode onto stage and started jamming with Ritchie Blackmore during soundcheck – which so impressed the Purple guitarist that Wishbone Ash and got a record deal out of it. The band’s first opening slot in America was for The Who. Once they became headliners – thanks to the acclaimed 1972 album Argus –people began opening for them: Bruce Springsteen, KISS, and Aerosmith, among others. To this day, Wishbone Ash is listed as a critical influence by a number of superstar rock artists. They helped popularize the “twin lead guitar sound” since heard from heavyweights of diverse genres like Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and even Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Incorporating with the founders’ influences of roots and classical music, Wishbone Ash was never a huge seller, never had a top-40 hit on the radio, but they’ve had a long and accomplished career. “Argus” named the best album of the year by a number of British magazines, in a year that included Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” and Rolling Stones’ “Exile On Main Street.” A move to the United States in 1974 shifted the direction towards soft rock, with the addition of a keyboardist, before returning to their core sound in 1978. All told, Wishbone Ash has released a total of 23 albums – and not a single song ever made the charts. Undaunted, they continue. The latest album is 2011’s “Elegant Stealth.”

Today – typical of the classic rock scene – Powell is the only remaining original member of Wishbone Ash. Bassist Martin Turner founded his own version known as Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, which also continues to tour performing the same songs. At a performance in Bedfordshire in 2012, Turner was even joined by the other original members of the band – all except for Powell.

But even if hell freezes over before there’s a proper reunion, don’t miss one of the true monsters of musical history, Saturday night at Festival Place. Tickets are on sale here.


Fiction Of Fate – The musical multi-verse returns to normal with the Avenue Theatre hosting an evening of good old heavy metal featuring this local female-fronted quintet, as well as Fear of City, Domitian, and Monarch Sky. 8 pm, advance tickets $15 at YEG Live.


Headwater – This Vancouver folk act features a steel guitar, mandolin, banjo, and three-part harmonies bubbling inside an infectious folk fervor. Their new album “Push”, due out May 4, also includes a little more pop sensibility as well. Queen Alexandra Hall, 8 pm, Visit the Northern Lights Folk Club for info and ticket, $22.

Electric Six – This Detroit band has been releasing music since 1999, though their first hit was 2003’s “Danger! High Voltage,” which was especially big in the UK, helped by a number of rumours that Jack White sang backup on the track. He didn’t. They’ve continued to have moderate success in the UK while stardom has remained just out of reach in North America. Their most recent single was a 2004 cover of “Radio Ga Ga,” despite their wishes to not have it released as such. Opening band The Matinee is a Vancouver indie rock act whose most recent album was produced by Steve Berlin (REM, Tragically Hip), and Hot Hot Heat’s Steve Bay. Starlite Room, 9 pm, $16 plus service charge, at Ticket Fly.

New Country Rehab – This Toronto quartet has dubbed themselves as “outlaw indie country,” a description that fits perfectly. They continue touring to support their 2011 self-titled release. Haven Social Club, 8 pm, $15 advance, on sale here.