Owen Ashworth rocks out Lakewood’s Mahall’s 20 lanes
By Beth Casteel
There are no other venues in the Cleveland area quite like Lakewood’s charming little venue, Mahall’s 20 Lanes.
Known for its retro and hipster-y setting, the historic bowling alley slash concert venue has hosted several acts over the years, making it the perfect spot to have lo-fi pop master Owen Ashworth’s solo project, Advance Base, perform.
Announced a few months back, Advance Base has hit the road for a string of headlining dates in order to support his latest record, “Animal Companionship.” The tour, which features several acts from Ashworth’s own record label, Orindal Records, started a couple of weeks ago and will continue to run into December.
Kicking things off in Mahall’s Locker Room, a group of 20-something’s gathered around the packed space to spend their evening listening to Ashworth’s simple, yet hard-hitting, songs.
To help set the tone of the evening, Ashworth brought with him alternative artist, Gia Margaret. A label mate on Orindal, Gia helped bring a sweet and dream-like atmosphere to the show with her swooning lyrics and infectious melodies.
She only played a few songs during her set, but that didn’t deter her from giving the chilled-out crowd her full attention. Between the swaying beats and her haunting voice, she was able to capture the crowd’s attention within the first few minutes of her set.
Add in the red and purple lighting that Mahall’s tiny Locker Room is known for, mixed with everyone in the audience sitting around her makeshift stage, the intimate setting of her time on the stage helped ease the audience into Ashworth’s lo-fi pop anthems.
It didn’t take long for Ashworth to get onstage once Gia’s set officially ended. Simply setting up a keyboard in the middle of the designated stage, he soon went into his first song of the evening, which was a dreamy, beat-driven track taken from his latest release.
Deciding to throw in a mix of songs spanning his lengthy career, most of which coming from his three albums under the Advance Base moniker, Ashworth eased his way into a set featuring varying tracks.
“I’m definitely focusing more on the new songs, but I tried to find old songs that seemed to somatically fit in,” Ashworth said. “As I put together a set for tour, I want the songs to make sense together, you know, to feel continuous, so I’ll pull out old songs that seem to compliment or make some kind of comment on the newer songs, that hopefully blend together an interesting way.”
Ashworth has perfected his craft long ago, and it was clear to see just how easily he captivates the audience. Keeping the crowd of laid-back concert goings invested, he performed several of his most popular songs, paired with a few deep cuts, that helped move the show along in an ethereal manner.
Winding down his set with a few more tracks, Ashworth ended his set on a high note, making it clear to see why the mastermind behind Advance Base has had such a lengthy and successful career.