Classic rockers set to hit town

Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash
Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash

THE band behind one of the most famous cult albums of the 1970s will bring their brand of prog-tinged rock to Wigan this weekend.

Wishbone Ash, who became revered among rock fans for their award-winning third album Argus, released in 1972, will take to the stage at Kaff, just off Wallgate, with the line-up of the group put together by bassist, vocalist and main songwriter Martin Turner.

The group, whose line-up is completed by guitarists Ray Hatfield and Danny Willson and drummer Dave Wagstaffe, will perform many of the finest songs from across the band’s four decades in music.

Wishbone Ash were formed in Devon in 1969 and became one of the best-known British rock acts of the 1970s, with a sound fusing together blues-rock, the emerging hard rock and proto-metal sounds and elements of prog and British folk music.

The band also became a pioneer of the twin lead guitar sound which would go on to be used by acts such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden, and were also renowned for the strong melodies which formed a key part of their songs.

In addition to their most famous work, the band released a string of acclaimed albums in the 1970s such as Pilgrimage, There’s the Rub and New England.

Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash will perform at Kaff, with support from local blues rockers Doublecut, in a night which should appeal to a wide range of rock fans old and new.

Promoter Paul Maiden said: “Argus is an album I grew up listening to because it was in my dad’s collection. This is the definitive version of the band because of Martin’s very distinctive vocals.

“It’s quite different to some of the bands we’ve had in Wigan before, much more relaxed and more about precision and timing, really good musicianship.”

The Wishbone Ash gig is just the start of a series of concerts in Wigan which should interest fans of classic rock music, with the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Dutch group Focus already booked to appear in the autumn.

Paul says he hopes attracting such high-calibre acts will make it easier to secure more gigs in Wigan.

He said: “We’re a bit off the normal gigging circuit here, but as soon as artists see groups like Wishbone Ash mentioned they are much more interested in playing here.”

Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash will play at Kaff, with support from Doublecut, tomorrow, with doors opening at 9pm.

Tickets are £12 in advance, available from venues including Kaff, Symphony Music and Skin Graffiti Tattoos on Library Street, or £14 on the door. Search for Kaff Wigan on Facebook to find out more.