Seeing Tim Wheeler sing 'We are the new sensation' seven years after their first release is quite bizarre. But Ash are a band reborn. On 1998’s ‘Nu-Clear Sounds’ Ash grew old with a vengeance. And while it wasn’t a bad album, there was no track on it that grabbed your imagination as much as, say, ‘Girl From Mars’ or ‘Kung Fu’. So many were happy when any mention of ‘Free All Angels’ was near by the phrase “a return to the days of ‘1977'”; but to say that Ash rediscovered a winning formula is incredibly unfair. They have developed much more as a pop band; back in 1996 they probably would’ve been unable of songs like‘There’s A Star’, ‘Submission’ or ‘Sometimes’. With their latest album, Ash have entranced a whole new wave of fans.
‘Tokyo Blitz’ captures Ash playing to a capacity four thousand crowd at the Akasaka Blitz in, surprise surprise, Tokyo. The set is flawless except for a piss-poor version of ‘Candy’. Also, Wheeler’s attempt to play the crowd isn’t as successful as it would be at home due to the language barrier. One thing that strikes you is what a brilliant stage presence they have. Between Bassist Mark Hamilton’s hip thrusts, Charlotte Hatherly’s combination of looking like she really doesn’t want to be there and mild head banging and Tim Wheeler’s customary rock star poses, they’re a contender for the coolest looking band on the planet. This is a feat they manage without Drummer Rick McMurray, who still looks like a maths geek trying to impress some punk friends with his mohican.
The video also contains some extra features; MUCH respect to Ash for putting these on the VHS, unlike so many other bands. Here we get to see Charlotte getting acupuncture, Japanese cartoon porn, Rick dribbling, meet their green haired guitar tech who should have his own TV show and short interviews with each member of the band.
This is a truly essential purchase for even the casual Ash fan. In fact, it’s so good even ‘Wild Surf’ sounds half-decent.