April 11, 2011

DVD Review: Wishbone Ash-A Rockumentary…This Is Wishbone Ash

Wishbone Ash has always been one of those bands that I have enjoyed listening to whether it’s their older material or more recent recordings. This is a band that has been strong for over 40 years and one member, Andy Powell (guitar, lead vocals) has been with them every step of the way. I think he is the reason the band has continued to put out quality rock music consistently over the years. Without his experience and guidance the band would not have survived all the changes they have been through. The lineup now includes Powell, Bob Skeat (bass), Muddy Manninen (lead guitar) and Joe Crabtree (drums).

Thanks to this new DVD A Rockumentary…This Is Wishbone Ash I feel like I know the band much better now. I have never felt like I had that much familiarity with this band besides the kinship I feel with their music. That has all changed now as I am ready to go see them live for the first time at the end of the month. I felt a strong anticipation right along but now that has intensified quite a bit after watching them perform live and in the studio.

There are few things that threw me off with the DVD. I knew it was PAL but never had a problem playing those on my PC before. This time I had to change the Region Code from 1 to 2. And on the back of the DVD cover it states you can download “six classic songs” from the DVD, which I could not. There are no directions to do so and any indication anywhere on the DVD of where or how to download those tracks. A warning to those that change your region code on your DVD drive, if you change it 3 times you get a warning that lets you know you cannot change it again even if you installed another operating system. How crazy is that? So its 3 strikes and you’re out. I know there is software out there that makes your DVD player generic regionally but I did not try it, do not know if it works or if it’s even legal for that matter. So I learned a few other things watching this DVD besides becoming more familiar with Wishbone Ash.

The inside look at this band was very relaxed and informational. They went to Normandy France to a studio on a beautiful piece of property in the countryside to record their new album. In between their jam sessions it shows them relaxing outside in the sun, eating picnic style on the grass, having a few drinks and laughing, just normal things people do. The point Andy made about the band being comfortable with each other is clearly demonstrated in all of this footage and particularly as they work together in the studio bouncing ideas off each other and playing out their parts to create songs. Their music is no frills rock influenced by the blues. It is not so much progressive anymore however Andy did mention they want to get back to more of a focus on the longer songs and stretches of instrumental flourishes. He realizes how popular jam band music is these days and how prog rock has experienced a resurgence over the last few years using that very genre to bring in the younger crowds to make them realize what they have been missing.

Despite the disappointment of not getting my downloads and the technical issues in regards to DVD Region codes, this was a most excellent up close look at one of my favorite bands Wishbone Ash. It is indeed a DVD worth having if you are fan of the band.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

April 10, 2011

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