5 Days of Richard Ashcroft: Fighting On Your Own

Day 3 - Hold On

If anyone at Brixton needed the new album sold to them still, 'Hold On' was going to do it. Despite everyone the wrong side of 30, Brixton is transformed from gig watchers to a rave in seconds of the killer strings and piano loop starting.

It’s such a big and hopeful sounding record and consequently, the only track that eclipses The Verve tracks played. It has the unique togetherness of Oasis’ ‘Live Forever’ (‘I feel like we are the only ones alive’) and the defiance of Nicky Wire with the line 'And the truth is on the march again / Wipe those tears away'.

Crucially though, Ashcroft is not so much performing ‘Hold On’ as he is battling it with the audience. He isn’t here to be cherished and will not settle for anyone, let alone adoring fans telling him what they expect of him. Ashcroft clearly see’s performing, especially new material, as a fight where he will be the only one left standing.

Despite the bullishness, his ability to romanticise, to be lost and longing for another to help remains at its best:

“Learning on your own / Can turn your heart to stone”

Oddly, us mortals attach ourselves to this more than his unique ability to lead but, without the two together, you’d be left with something far inferior.