|Brixton 1990 Gig Review
This review of the 12-Hour Technicolour Dream gig at the Brixton Academy on 1st September 1990 is
from a Kadu Flyer-related publication, a fanzine called West Wind. And it's as much a review of the
lightshow as it is of the band's performance...
The lights around dimmed and the crowd roared
as a slow synth build-up filled the air. The large
balloon above the balcony suddenly took on the
appearance of a Moon/Mars surface and
projected on to this was a recurring droplet
slowly falling into a lake over and over again in
beautiful shades of purple. On both sides of the
balcony recurring sparklers came up as if to
celebrate the arrival of the Hawks. A row of
lights fixed by the side of Richard's drums
slowly began to revolve giving the impression
from the balcony (where we were seated) of a
spaceship slowly coming into land. Gradually
green and red spirals began to spin on the stage
like some cosmic rays emanating from an
unknown source. Then amongst the spectacular,
the Hawklords appeared, alas without Simon
The green and red spirals gradually merged to
form rainbows that spun ever faster and the
prickling synth sounds escalated as the Hawks
plunged into 'Angels of Death'. A succession of
green and red strobes illuminated the stage, and a
female dancer bedecked in a skeleton outfit
appeared to add that extra visual touch that only
Hawkwind can provide. At the back of the stage
was a large projection screen which up to now
had been filled with various psychedelic colours
during the previous two band sets. This was
replaced with a succession of images as various
scenes of women, playing cards and other images
which could not be seen very clearly beyond the strobes flashed in front of us. Four more lights set up
underneath the drum shone into the upper recesses of the balcony which from our viewpoint seemed
like endless beacons reaching out into space. It was immediately apparent that Hawkwind were
preparing to give their all as they most often do. Dave Brock's vocals that pounded out the chorus line
were as strong as ever and the song brought back all the youthful enthusiasms that it conveyed during
the early 80s.
As the final chorus died away the strobe lights gradually simmered until the stage was left glazed in a
mysterious green, a brief keyboard intro accompanied many spirals on the back projection screen.
These merged until they seemed like snow crystals flashing in front of your eyes - glancing around you,
you had the incredible sight of 5,000 Hawkfans transfixed to the event that was happening in front of
them -this was going to be one show that no-one could ever forget.
Alan Davey moved to the front of the stage and was immediately silhouetted by a green pulsating light
that seemed to reach the very recesses of the auditorium. We had entered the realms of 'The Golden
Void' and we were not to be disappointed. This was one of the highlights of the night with Dave and
Alan's vocals taking on ever new heights to truly take us on the never ending journey to the edge of
time. After the main chorus lines there then followed an excellent instrumental / tribal jam as the music
slows down, speeds up and then gradually mellows away to leave you with an amazing tranquil mind.
With this final peaceful ending the stage was bedecked with a tremendous shade of red as if we had
passed through the void and were now travelling in space beyond. It seemed that we were now in the
realms of chaos as the screen at the back of the stage was filled with various psychedelic circles -
wheels and space scenes were predominant. Once again the sound escalated until the swishing
strobescope, underneath the drums, heralded the song 'Ejection'. This song is a powerful tribute to the
work of Bob Calvert and Hawkwind did his memory proud with the version they produced tonight.
With the energetic opening choruses the drum strobe gave an immense feeling of power vibrating from
the stage and this was extenuated by various spotlights set around the stage. After this powerful
opening there then followed an excellent keyboard / reggae jam. Dave and Harvey's keyboards had some
how managed to capture perfectly the violin sound and an incredible jam then ensued as it was one of
the tightest keyboard jams ever heard (this was after following Hawkwind for almost two decades).
Once again the song speeds up accompanied by Dave and Alan's vocals throughout the final chorus line.
After this powerful number I expected it to be followed by a more mellow sound. Yet hereby a series of
blue spirals marked the beginning of 'Dreamworker'. The blue spirals were replaced by space and UFO
scenes against a red backdrop on stage. It was only to be expected that for 12 hours of technicolour
dreaming, the dreamworker would be allowed to weave his psychic sounds on your memory. After the
spacey beginning, though this was to be an unexpected version the song gradually sped up and first
inperceptibly so, but then with an ever increasing tempo until the final chorus line of 'Got to Be' was
pounded out with a tremendous tribal power. In fact the whole event had old Red Indian overtones
which really brought mankind back to his roots and enabled nature to come forth with reviewed vigour
once more. As the sounds died away, a familiar synth sound ensued and we were treated to one of the
new songs from the forthcoming 'Space Bandits' LP.
This is a powerful track, 'Out of the Shadows' which has been tried before at previous gigs. An
amazing contrast to the previous number and Dave's vocals once again filled the hall with the opening
verses. At this point it came to our notice under the bright spotlight that Alan had lost his beard; he was
our incarnation of an elf. The stage was now filled with rainbow lights and on the screen in the
background a glowing black hole gave the impression that the Hawks were' traveling out of the shadows
and into the light. Four beams fluctuated around the scenery as the strong opening verses turned into a
very tight instrumental jam in the middle of the track. Once again Dave fires out the final chorus before
it ends in a very tight riff played by Alan and Dave. Anyone who is lucky enough to have purchased the
'Agents of Chaos' LP would have recognised this instrumental piece from the song 'Hades Deep' of one
side. This brought variety and showed that with Hawkwind you must always expect the unexpected.
Recently Hawkwind recorded a 1-hour show for Central TV for transmission on their Bedrock late
show. This was condensed down to 1 hour and was shown during the early hours of the morning - it
was later circulated amongst the other independent TV programmes. The highlight of that recording
was the number that followed 'Out of the Shadows', 'Night of the Hawks', this was repeated for anyone
who was unlucky enough not to have seen it.
A dancer with a tambourine appeared and a mellow instrumental build-up suddenly flared into powerful
opening lyrics of the track. At this point the sparklers projected up the side of the balcony suddenly
changed into vast skyscrapers giving the image that the boys were playing on some strange hill in the
centre of an urban setting in America. As the number got faster Dave Brock's vocals announced that the
Night of the Hawks had arrived, the screen at the back suddenly became a flood of lights and waves
swirling anti-clockwise giving the impression that the band were in the middle of a maze (maybe they
were), similar to Golden Void. Badger's excellent opening chord vocals were then replaced by a very
together instrumental jam. Midway through their guest vocalist -Bridget, the lead vocalist of The Hippy
Slags, who are a festival band and have supported Hawkwind on a number of occasions- appeared on
stage giving a brilliant recital in perfect time to the rhythmic under-current. As backdrop projections get
faster along with the music you cannot help but get washed along with the waves of sound hitting you.
Being left hypnotised by the vision, it was only when the instrumental chant died away back down to a
similar sound to the mellow prelude that things were finally able to move once more. At this point it
became apparent how much Richard Chadwick's presence on drums had done for Hawkwind. Not only
has he provided an excellent tribal rhythm but he unleashes a special energy into the band that all the
others seem to feed off and enable them to continue going. On this performance the institution of the
Spaceship Hawkwind is well set for the flight path into the new century...
Now, as the swirling maze continued on the backdrop, it was the turn of the invisible warrior to make
his mysterious presence felt. Often, the most you would see of Harvey is just a mass of hair protruding
out above the keyboard (and that is if you are lucky) but after his menacing lyrics during Dreamworker,
it was now time for him to shine forth once more for 'Back in the Box'. As Dave's lead guitar riffs had
added that special touch to make Golden Void and Night of the Hawks stand out, so it was now
Harvey's vocals that did the trick in this particular track. After a fast heavy rock beginning, not
unsimilar to Out of the Shadows, things slowed down to a rhythmic chant whereby Harvey recites a
lengthy passage in time to the rhythmic beat. During this, Bridget also returned to the stage and
provided a brilliant repartee to Harvey's lyrics. All the time the number gains in intensity until reaching
fever pitch, and then with a flurry of red lasers the band charged into 'Arrival in Utopia'. At this point it
seemed that Utopia had arrived in the Brixton Academy. A psychedelic sweep continued and a manic
guitar ending sparked off a mixture of lasers that gradually circulated amongst the crowd driving ever
faster and then with a maze of colours the band swiftly merged into 'Paranoia'. Alan and Dave provided
their usual combined brilliance, which, in perfect time and tune hit the brainwaves of the vast throng
around then slowly died away to leave a darkened stage.
Once again, the audience's excitement mounted as faint lights twinkled here and there on the dim-lit
stage. Bridget turned to the front and whispered slowly into the microphone adding to the atmosphere -
behind, successions of faces flowed anti-clockwise. These comprised mainly of snakes and skulls
which added to the scene. The boys plunged into what was to be the final number of their main set.
This was the new number which we had not heard before and horror of horrors, failed to know the
name. Hopefully, this was to be on the new album 'Space Bandits'. Red and green lights once again
illuminated the stage whilst a tight metallic rhythm from a frenzy of activity on stage put all final energies
into the ultimate number. On one side Bridget, wearing a dark mysterious hood and on the other side
another dancer waving a pair of batons that gave the impression of being some gigantic interstellar
As the stage took on that dark mysterious aura, shades of purple were thrown off the huge balloon
towering above our heads, the boys hit the final verses and the cosmic wave of sound came to its
After the usual blood and sweat that an encore requires, the stage was once again lit with lasers and four
beams with a flashing image of a dragon spread over the backdrop. Shades of shimmering green
appeared on the balloon above giving the feeling all had landed on an ancient carboniferious forest of
old. There was only one track they could start off the encore with and that was of course
'Hassan-i-Sahba', this keeping in with the whole concept of the event. What an amazing version,
although without Simon's violin solo which was more than adequately replaced by Dave and Harvey's
keyboard excellence. 'It is Written' echoed through the whole arena and maybe something special was
on the minds of all those who watched on. Finishing energetically we found ourselves flying through
'Wind of Change'. Hall of the Mountain Grill fans can be assured that this number has doubled with
intensity over the years. Dave hit us hard once again with his lead guitar solo, this was a perfect climax
to the event. It was felt Dave, Alan, Harvey and Richard had a great time as we all certainly did.
Thank you Hawkwind we have had our fix for September, see you in the Autumn.
Love, Peace and Bananas
-Shani and Baggy
The ticket for the event, well worth seeing again!