After almost twenty years as a solo artist, bar a few outings with different collections, the often-misunderstood soul/indie powerhouse that is Mr Ashcroft seems to have risen again in pop culture’s social consciousness. A three-year run of fine form, resulting in two albums and various headline/huge support tours, now finds Richard in considerable demand; tonight’s sold out show and a forthcoming gig on Newcastle’s quayside prove that people want to hear from Wigan’s finest. What tonight proves is that the people have chosen well; Richard is somebody worth hearing from.
Spreading his set list from ‘Urban Hymns’ up to the recent ‘Natural Rebel’ (bar, perhaps his greatest album, ‘United Nations of Sound’) Ashcroft’s set spans his solo work. Highlights (a solo) ‘Come on people’, ‘Hold on’ and ‘Science of silence’ shine with their intense soulful vocals as well as offering an interesting insight into Ashcroft’s solo work and how it holds up to his earlier, better known work, in The Verve. For all of the greatness of the songs however, the true greatness of Ashcroft’s show hinges not on the recreating of his work but rather it’s delivery and it’s the unmeasurable intensity from Ashcroft which mesmerizes the most tonight. Where he’ll be in twenty years who knows, but it’s certain he’ll still be worth hearing.