Press Clippings VI
|More from the scrapbook, with the usual range of opinions and writing abilities...
"Sight and sound" - 08/03/84 gig review from the Portsmouth News:
Former Hawkwind member Nick Turner has returned to the mystic fold - as a punk for their latest tour,
which took in the Guildhall, Portsmouth, last night.
Turner, who left a few years ago, seems to have breathed new life into the Kings of Acid Rock; although a
punk, clad in an oil-puddle effect bodystocking and sporting a single red horn of hair, is an unlikely sight in
Hawkwind's powerful, synthesized rock set.
Hawkwind, who recently seemed to be slipping into a more conventional heavy rock role, last night backed
up his wild cavorting with their traditional synthesized space-mysticism. Turner provided a focus for the
hypnotic music and dazzling light show - band leader Dave Brock's fireworks - designed to stun the
audience's minds. Hawkwind might have invented the terms "mindblowing" and "spaced out".
The set was a great success, although the fans didn't get as frenzied as rockers usually do - they were too
stunned. But when the band encored, they recovered enough to rip Turner's dustbin-liner outfit (I'm sorry,
but it's true) to shreds.
Review of 'Hawkwind' Picture Disc (Sounds, 07/04/84):
Space oddity or just spaced out? EMI's decision to release the Hawklords' debut platter, on a picture disc
no less, merely to cash in on the fact that they are currently out of mothballs and on the road is mystifying.
Nevertheless they've done it and here it is in all its' grotesque splendour.
I've seen collectors shops charging an arm and a leg for beaten-up copies of this acid artifact, so its' third
release should allow those who were tempted the chance to hear it properly.
For all its naive charm, though, the passage of time has severely damaged this record's original power,
reducing it to mere space junk.
Review of the 'Night Of The Hawks' single, 17/03/84:
A very pleasant surprise considering how disappointing the Hawks have been of late, 'Night Of The Hawks'
is a crushing warsong featuring the mighty Lemmy on bass, and should be bought by everyone who has
slagged off the 'Lords, including me...
"Let us prey" - Hammersmith Odeon gig review from Sounds, 31/03/84:
"Night Of The Hawks, Night Of The HAWKS!" And y'all thought that the Hawklords were all festering
down Damnation Alley (or Ladbroke Grove, anyway), talking about 1967's price for Lebanese Black, and
trying to sell to disinterested punksters their old bongs and afghans.
The truth of the matter is that they're alive and kicking as never before, and demonstrating that they are one
of the most underrated constants of the British music scene. They may even go on to challenge Status Quo
in the longevity stakes...
A chance meeting of old friends and familiar faces, with Nik Turner taking a break from his Inner City Unit,
Lemmy pulling himself from off the tiles with Motorhead and their erstwhile mentor and cosmic guru,
Michael Moorcock, delivering some suitably over-the-top sonic attacks.
Nor was it the sort of crowd that you would think are obliged by hippy law to attend Hawkwind gigs on
pain of having their Gong records coated with henna. New psychedelics mixed with very old psychedelics.
Hells Angels rubbed shoulders with Conflict-type punks, and Steve Hillage impersonators attempted to make
the Flying Teapot salute to such celebrities as Youth and even (speak quietly) Jimmy Page.
The show started with Mike Moorcock intoning one of his Earth Ritual poems, and from then the
Hawkwind space-craft left the ground and didn't touch earth again! Although most of the material was
from more recent Hawk line-ups, Nik Turner did the vocal honours, despite being dressed in a flattering (!)
leotard with distinctly phallic head-gear.
An Inner City Unit song, introduced as a "classic", had a host of spiky-tops weaving around frantically to its
chorus of "watching the grass grow". Their espousal of the anarchistic Stop The City protest coming up on
March 29th was another reminder of just how close Hawkwind have always been in sentiment to groups
like Crass and Conflict.
Another poem by Moorcock indicting "Violence as the curse of man" led into an introduction by Nik Turner
of "the curse of the bass guitar", as record-breaking degenerate Lemmy ambled onto stage for the Urban
Guerrilla's excellent new single, 'Night Of The Hawks.'
A brilliant show, demonstrating that the Sonic Assassins are alive and, er, well and truly together, maaan.
Review of the 'Zones' album *** (Sounds, 1983):
Hawkwind always lurked at the edge of acceptance, with classic sets such as 'A Space Ritual', an
acid-punk screech that was as extreme in its numbing lope through pain as Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine
Music'. Fiddling around with ideas of repetition and aural assault (either on purpose, or as a result of
prolonged drug indulgence, it's difficult to determine), Hawkwind seemed to find at least a mutated echo in
the industrial and new electronic movements.
Sad to say, the Hawkwind of yore have swapped the microdots for pipes (tobacco pipes, that is) and Jesus
sandals. Lemmy left, and took the break-neck mania with him, and Dave Brock dragged up the original
members from communes everywhere, and somehow even got hold of Ginger Baker who is best known for
having played on a couple of tracks by Fela Kuti as well as some band called Cream.
Then, together, the Hawklords drifted into a marshmallow wilderness of cosmic twitterings and AOR
synthesizers. 'Zones' is a pleasant album, but that's just not good enough. In isolation, a couple of tracks
stand (or, rather, peek) out of the general syrupy mess: 'Zones' starts the LP off with choppy guitar slicing
over cracked and rusted radio-voices. 'Dangerous Visions', which follows, grinds through whispered
groans of "Vision/Vision/Vision", while the guitar stutters in eternal recurrence. 'Motorway City' and 'Social
Alliance' vaguely hoist themselves as potential singles, although the latter only just stops itself from turning
into a runt-cover of 'Urban Guerilla'!
The Hawk's real cock-up is in putting yet more versions of 'Sonic Attack' and 'Brainstorm' onto the disc.
Both of these have appeared at least twice before (and that's not counting compilations) in forms that make
these two feeble retreads sound like Radio Two jingles.
Still, they have their steady audience. It'll please the faithful, though I suspect that even they will be pissed
off when they are forced to recall the original 'Brainstorm' after hearing the miserable travesty offered here,
I safely predict that 'Zones' will not knock Boy George off the charts!
1989 gig review at the Academy, Bournemouth (unknwon publication):
Promoted only through handbills, bill-posting and word of mouth, like their unofficial appearances at this
year's Glastonbury bash, this Hawkwind show was strictly for the diehards. And they turned out in their
thousands; the usual ragbag of bikers, hippies, punks, Metalheads, acid-heads and assorted students -
though joined this time by the latest rage in tribal acid fashion, the Happy Mondays fan.
For their part, still hung over from their Glastonbury indulgences and missing the bite of Huw Lloyd
Langton, Hawkwind delivered a characteristically meandering set that melted from the ponderous crazed
tinkerings and warblings of Harvey Bainbridge to the kick-start energy of 'Utopia' and 'Hassan-i-Sahba'.
But even when Hawkwind were at their most inanely indulgent, there was always the awesome
return-to-form show to hold the interest. Fire breathers (so hot they almost burned the flesh off the first
dozen rows), dancers, a typically psychedelic lightshow, imaginative back projections, and the best use of
lasers I've ever seen conspired to prevent all but the most stoned at the back from falling asleep.
Hawkwind may well be more than a 20-year old institution but their relevance in the music of the Hard Left
has never been more unquestionable.
1989 gig review at the Hammersmith Odeon (unknown publication):
Hawkwind's history spans 20 years of counter-culture experimentation, but the majority of this crowd were
barely glints in the eyes of their parents during the 60's. Fashions come and go but Hawkwind are still there
if you want them, particularly if you fancy a bit of rockin' for a furry freak brothers world.
"Everything's under control...ha ha ha!" There's probably more people tripping here than in Katmandu and
the set is perfectly designed for it. The lasers and lights are stunning -aeons ahead of everyone else- and
they make the current use of strobe lights by most bands look positively old-fashioned. Hawkwind live is a
psychedelic / sci-fi / horror / theatre / circus.
Characters with varying degrees of costume and melodrama take the stage for different songs, some to sing
and some to perform almost ritualistic pagan dancing, one act even juggles lighted torches. The music
often, but not always (as the roars of approval greeting 'Assassin' showed) fulfils the function of backing
music, finding its own niche somewhere between rock madness and more mellow keyboard chaos.
Surprisingly, they're never boring. Masters of atmosphere, even when straight. 'Reefer Madness' is an
appropriate sign-off number, a neat description of an evening when, amazingly, nobody asked me what
their star sign was.
"Psychedelic Grandads Rave On" (1990, unknown publication):
Hawkwind, psychedelic godfathers, will headline the "12 Hour Technicolour Dream", a mega-rave at
London Brixton Academy on September 1 which runs from 2pm until 2am. The gig will feature Liquid
Len's reformed light and laser show with various other psychedelic circuit bands, club DJs and special
This will be Hawkwind's biggest event since they headlined the 'Acid Daze' festival two years ago in
Finsbury Park. Hawkwind, who have been together for over 20 years, have a new album called 'Space
Bandits' on GWR Records in September. Only founder Dave Brock remains from the original line-up,
although Simon House, who joined Hawkwind in 1973 during their 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill' period is
also in the band.
Review of the 'Zarozinia' single, 15/3/87 (unknown publication):
Prog rock extended to its max. Take Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, add a smidgeon of Moorcock,
place in blender and pour resulting mess down sink. Record and press into disks. Serve in tasteless badly
drawn sleeve. Garnish with nipple and give to dog.
"Hawks Landing" (1988, unknown publication):
On Monday November 28 the Academy in Bournemouth hosts the only South Coast date for Hawkwind on
their annual winter tour. Although the tour has not been given a specific title, inside information from the
band suggests that "Lord Of Light" - a track off their album "Doremi Fasol Latido" - may be the best
description so far.
The band, formed in 1969, have always had a massive hardcore following who, when not seeing them on
their annual sell-out tours, can catch them at numerous festivals or listen to their albums now numbering a
Excerpt from a review of the 1985 Crystal Palace Anti-Heroin Gig:
Then the sun fell and the night of the Hawk closed in. Hawkwind might be a cultural institution, but their
noise is so perfectly realised and empathetic, they defy the unwritten 'rules' of consumption. They are their
own fashion and style, full stop.
Excerpt from a review of 'Acid Daze 2' at Leeds, 12/12/87:
The initial whoosh of the Hawkwind sound whistling through the big drafty hall was a cleansing experience,
a musical enema to set the blood pounding and the head banging. Still the seminal acid-rock band, they
made the rest of the day's delights seem like a fistful of Smarties.
-John Anthony Lake
Review of Space Bandits (***, publication unknown):
If 1990 is the year of Hendrix's rediscovery, then 1991 must surely be Hawkwind's. That's only being
half-facetious actually, for, as acidheads of all ages and denominations should note, Hawkwind are the
closest you'll get to the mythical shared ancestry of both The Shamen and The Butthole Surfers. This music
(and remember, they've been making it for 21 years) is what would emerge if you left 'En-Tact' with
'Another Man's Sac' in an orbital cesspit for 15 years. On one hand, it's unbelievably grungy, a bubbling
electro-slop of thick riff and slime-green texture. On the other, its warp-speed cruise-rhythms are as
propulsive as ever.
Radical this LP isn't, although Dave Brock's lads' genuine psychedelic survival is worth saluting. They're
still hopelessly dopey, but this time round you have to love them. Planet Grebo under cosmic attack.
Review of 'Hawkwind, Friends And Relations Volume 3' (***1/2):
Hashish to hashish, dust to dust. You could be forgiven for thinking that Hawkwind had been finally laid to
rest. This collection of odds and sods is the third in the 'Friends And Relations' series, and the weird array
of noises on show here stretches from '78 to last year. There are two live Hawkwind numbers,
'Psychedelia Lives' and 'Drug Cabinet Key', the first being a great whirlwind of synth and guitar. Hawkmen
Dave Brock and Bob Calvert both contribute solo tracks, with Brock's 'Wired Up For Sound' developing
into warped disco with a mutant hi-energy beat.
Offshoots Stravinsky's Shoe and the Alman Mulo Band share a spaced-out electro noise, while 'spiritual
sons' Underground Zero return back to base with a heavier Hawkrock sound.
"Hawkwind join drug-busters" - Portsmouth News, 27/11/85:
Hawkwind are at the centre of a strong anti-drugs campaign. The group, best known for their SILVER
MACHINE hit and who visit Portsmouth on Sunday, are releasing a single which hits out at the evils of
It is a turnaround from their hippy days of the early 70s when the newspapers were full of the band's
alleged drug habits. They were constantly the focus of police investigation as they made their name playing
festivals, including the Isle of Wight, and community gigs.
Then, in 1974, bass player Ian "Lemmy" Kilminster was caught in possession of amphetamine sulphate -
mistaken for cocaine by Canadian officials. The now MOTORHEAD star had a bust-up with the group as a
result, was dismissed, and flew back to England in disgrace.
Over the years, Hawkwind have kept their fans - not through singles, but through their great live show.
This has included thousands of pounds worth of lasers which were introduced by the group for the first
time at the Futurama Festival in Leeds in 1979.
Review of the Travellers Aid Trust album (publication unknown):
The New Travellers are a growing number of nomadic wanderers who have opted out of "conventional"
society, dissatisfied and disaffected. The Travellers Aid Trust, set up to protect these people from the
forces of evil, have gathered together for this project, under the protective moniker of Hawkwind,
self-styled post-psychedelic space rock architects from the days when Loop and Spacemen 3 were puking
and mewling in their mothers' arms.
So Culture Shock, Hippy Slags, Screech Rock and Tubilah Dogs, among other, equally oddly named,
confederations of like-minded souls, all add their own ha'penny worth of hairy craziness to this, ahem,
assortment. Veterans of the Free Festival weird scene, the bands collated within are all produced by
Hawkwind mainstay, and sole surviving member, Dave Brock.
2000 DS' "Calling All Crows" is enough to give Sonic Boom at least one sleepless night, Culture Shock play
the kind of punky reggae that The Clash perfected on "White Man", only sans the latter's raucous elan.
Ex-Hawkwind, and founder member Nik Turner replays Their Greatest Hit, with the slightly adapted title.
"Washing (Silver) Machine" whilst Ozric Tentacles roam through similar neu-sonic terrains as their more
acceptably outre contemporaries. Free Jerry Cornelius.
23/12/89 gig review at Edinburgh Usher Hall (publication unknown):
Captain's log stardate December 1989. F*** Acid House, just give us the acid. What with the Stonehenge
posters, the tie-dyed T-shirts and the space bandits car stickers on sale in the foyer, in these culturally
depressed times, true seekers of oblivion know the real deal lies out there - way out yonder in the depths of
More than just a band, a state of mind, nay, a way of life. A refuge for all hues of alternative lifestyles;
astral gypsies, interstellar pacifists and good old-fashioned nature lovers, mere longevity has raised the
brethren of the Hawk to a privileged realm beyond the reach of earthbound cynics and fellow non-believers.
But 20 years into their mission to circumnavigate space, with Dave Brock the sole survivor from the
original crew, the reality of the situation is that Hawkwind, rock's original self-generating Space Family
Robinson, are irretrievably lost. What was once upon a time ('72 at the Roundhouse), vaguely futuristic has
become ridiculously antiquated - a cosmic variation on Fairport Convention peddling a mind-numbingly
elongated live jam as the path to higher knowledge.
If home to Hawkwind was somewhere in Eastern Europe or even Llandudno, it might have made a lot more
sense; as it is someone should let on that a 70-year-old Martian from Philadelphia calling himself Sun Ra has
been cleaning up at this game for the past 30 years.
Review of the Calvert Tribute gig at Brixton Academy (publication unknown):
Quite apart from the undoubted piles of dosh raised for ex-Hawkwind, astrological oddball Calvert from the
capacity crowd, the real meat of the tribute came in the preciseness of the running order. Here And Now,
The Pink Fairies, Man, Hawkwind... just like a Roundhouse bill from '74. What had changed in the interim
was the audience. While there were the inevitable bevy of hippies busy standing still and trying to ponce a
roll-up, most of the folks who'd come to salute Calvert were mere babes in the cradle of mind abuse. Barely
compos mentis designer punkers shrugged their way through Here And Now (the band that inspired John
McEnroe to learn the guitar!), waxed surprisingly enthusiastic over those Welsh preserved mooses Man,
and gave appreciative nods of the quiff to both factions of the recently-imploded Pink Fairies. All these
bands, it should be pointed out, knew and liked Bob Calvert, and the gruff namechecks ("this one's for
Calvert" - real men don't use Christian names) were heartfelt.
So it was totally out of order for Dr & The Medics to use the evening to try and drum up some
much-needed interest in their tedious cartoonery. They completely misunderstood their brief by eulogising
Calvert as a loveable old bugger who didn't 'arf like his drugs, and botched up old classics like 'Gloria'
("G-L-O-er,I-R-A") along the way. They're a joke, and Michael Barrymore is telling it.
Hawkwind wrapped it up. The band with whom Calvert was resident poet played in front of spooky lasers
and huge banks of mechanical ephemera. Druggy, dizzy and hopelessly out of step, they took us back to
magical days. Days when all you had to negotiate was French homework, and how to get your first snog...
21/5/88 review of "Xenon Codex" (*** - publication unknown):
Hold the death notices. Hawkwind have made a studio album, their first in three years. It's not that they
split up or anything, it's just that they like to sleep for long periods. A bit like the Blue Peter tortoise.
These days, Hawkwind's line-up is reputed to be fairly stable, with Dave Brock still on guitar and
high-pitched vocals. I think 19 years in Hawkwind shows dedication. A big hand for Dave. And his new
album's not bad either.
'Xenon Codex' is above-average Hawkwind. It's got the odd chunky slice of doomed universe rock ('The
War I Survived', 'Neon Skyline'), the occasional wistful instrumental ('Tides') and the only irritating thing
about it is the tricky studio effects which keep making me get up to answer the phone.
You want wit? Here's some. 'Good Evening' begins with the lyrics "Mummy and Daddy said to me/Get a
job". When was this? The Great Depression? I can't imagine that Hawkwind were ever of school-leaving
age. Elsewhere on the track, sheep baa dolefully and the guitar plays 'If I Were A Rich Man'. Ho ho. Now
off to the bowels of my record collection with you.
21/07/84 review of 'Independent Days' (**** - unknown publication):
Ah! Cosmic maan! Yeah, y'know Hawkwind, the band generally guaranteed to take you onto the wildest
planes of astral rock? Well, what they've done here is to cram the six A-sides from their 1981-83 indie hits
onto one sharp ten-incher.
The truth is this could've been a five star scratcher but the production is a might dull and should've been
better. Of the six works, 'Hurry On Sundown' shines brightest with an almost Stateside 60s psychedelic
feel, but the other gems are by no means inferior. The evenly paced cut of 'Motorhead' admittedly isn't as
manic as you'd expect but then it does appear more colourful. 'Who's Gonna Win The War?' and 'Over The
Top' are equally immersed in technicolour, as is the winding sound of 'Motorway City'.
'Independent Days' tells just why Hawkwind have managed to rattle on for so long. Their vitality lies in their
incessant creativity. Long may they last.
Review of Birmingham gig (Sounds, 30/11/85):
The Ritual has come full circle. It's that Hawkwind time of the year again, and who's complaining? Not a
soul (that is if there was a straight enough soul to care) because Hawkwind were their usual predictably
Maybe they might find the word 'predictably' a mite irritating, but the fact remains that as long as
mind-expanding drugs exist, so will Hawkwind, each proving as consistently enjoyable to the audience as
the other. The stage show had apparently suffered from late cuts, but it certainly wasn't obvious to the
swirling throngs of punters, who gawped at the fluorescent lighting and cavernous might.
With a myriad head-spinning aural and visual images. Brock led his troops through a conceptual show that
leaned as much towards theatre as to rock'n'roll. And here, let's shatter some annoying preconceptions
regarding Hawkwind's audience. It's not the kaftan mob, it's not about being an ageing hippy, it's not about
flares. Hawkwind, these days, are simply about being yourself, and that's probably the best singular element
about their show. Hawkwind remain the masters of their own little universe.
30/4/88 Review of Hammersmith gig (unknown publication):
There is a wry sense of humour at work here. Hawkwind, surely the least photogenic rock group on earth,
shield themselves behind a light-show so cosmic that they have to wear luminous white coats to be seen at
all. As it is, the coats, move around pretty fast considering the ages of the blokes wearing them.
The idea is that the audience have accidentally stumbled into Hawkwind's underground laboratory, in which
strange and probably illegal experiments are taking place. If we want, we can stay and watch.
Goths, grebos, once-radical city gents carrying briefcases, youthful GCSE refugees, non-aligned souls still
living the free-festival dream, sci-fi addicts - Hawkwind attract them all. The age-old recipe of
cement-solid space boogie mixed with drug references, a vague biker bias and some wild synthesizer
effects hasn't changed since 'Silver Machine'. I don't know whether to be delighted or appalled.
Certainly, in 1988 this interstellar carry-on doesn't seem like the perverted deviation it did when I first heard
'In Search Of Space'. And, as if to prove that, Hawkwind ignore the album tonight, save for a
lightning-fast bash through 'Master Of The Universe'.
Just before the encore, Dr Brock reads out details of imminent free festivals we might like to go to. Most
of them are in May, but I forget which year.
Review of "ACID DAZE - Finsbury Park Supertent" (Sounds, 29/8/87):
What could be nicer than a summer Sunday in the park? A little music. Under canvas too. Only two
weeks in a septic tank gets anywhere near it.
The emphasis is on just being there or at least as much of you as can be mustered, as old hippies meet the
new with the scum boys of grebo the bit-part irritant. But wait. Here's Pop Will Eat Itself with their
smutty, cocky noise and from the howled greeting of "You lot f****** stink" they chance their arms and
everything else they've got with a tack rattle through 'Grebo Guru', 'There Is No Love Between Us
Anymore' and their very own Hawkwind homage 'Orgone Accumulator'. Their ruthless pillage and plunder
betrays a wit and calculation lurking just beneath the skin. The crowd is not amused.
The Pink Fairies' penchant for the rudimentary riff remains unquashed by the mere passage of time and
naturally meets with general approval. Ideal for those who just about have it in them to shake their hair,
here's another regrouping that should have been nipped in the bud.
Already very big in a very small way, Gaye Bykers would have you believe that they really don't care.
Signs are though that they actually do. Considered by some to have a pretty wit, their noise has the
finger-printed smudge of shredded punk all over it and in the few minutes allotted they come over as
another desperate howl for attention. Attitude and shorts score maximum points though.
Evening drawing down with the heavy fug of dope and patchouli hanging on the air. That smell of the
English at play, fried onions, wafts in to complete a heady aroma and Dr And The Medics go through their
high-stepping paces to another soundtrack of thumping drums and blasted guitar. They used to be on Top
Of The Pops, you know.
Heads droop, bodies prostrated and Naz Nomad And The Nightmares spoof it up. Vanian sports a Doris
Day hair transplant and Scabies hits everything as often and as hard as possible. 'Riders On The Storm' lies
broken in little tiny pieces as drums are set ablaze and equipment trashed. When in doubt, smash it up.
Never fails to please.
It's getting pretty exciting now. Nearly time to go home. A yob yell for "Hawkwind, Hawkwind" goes up
and bodies press forward still further. A cumulus of dry ice, back-projected Outer Limits imagery and a
retina burst of white light and lasers accompany the metallic hail of guitar and keyboard monkey squeak.
I left Hawkwind to their 'Space Ritual' many, many light years ago so it's gratifying to know that these aged
space hippies are still able to produce a sound that leaves nothing to chance and rather less to the
imagination. Were I one of the Masters Of The Universe I think I'd pretend to be out the day they finally
get their call through.
That Summer Of Love has never seemed further away. You should have been there.
Review of 'It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous' (KKK - Kerrang!, 1993):
Hawkwind blow minds for a living. That alone makes Dave Brock and his crew as dangerous as the title of
this platter suggests. Hawkwind aren't so much warriors on the edge of time, as timeless. Hence their
ability to endure passing trends, playing to sold-out crowds for over 20 years. In fact, they've emerged in
the '90s as a combo capable of having Rap metallers Senser opening for them, ambient Techno crew The
Orb remixing them, and Ozric Tentacles openly admitting their debt to Brock's bombardiers. The Hawks are
as close to being hip as you'd want 'em to get!
Sure, this, the latest in a long line of Space Rock offerings, is a far cry from the early to mid-'70s aural
batterings of 'Space Ritual' and 'Doremi Fasol Latido'. What you get, though, is a soothing and engagingly
heady brew. It swings from the near-Eastern Space mantra of 'Space Is Their (Palestine)', the Oriental shift
of 'Tibet Is Not China' (parts I and II, natch!), the Dave Brock drone of 'Letting In The Past', through to a
ludicrous cover of The Stones' 'Gimme Shelter'! Thankfully, the latter isn't the same collaboration between
the Hawks and Sam Fox that graced the 'Putting Our House In Order' EP last year!
This almost New Age display of ambient Metal ain't anywhere close to being as essential as those '70s
platters or latter day blasts like 'Levitation' or 'Sonic Attack'. But it will keep Hawkfans happy and tripping.
Pass the crystals!
Review of the Robert Calvert Benefit, Brixton Academy (publication unknown):
Everyone has a pet hate and mine is all-day gigs held indoors. Add eight hours in a crammed venue to
over-zealous security who prevented half the audience getting in for the best part of an hour after the bands
had started and it's hardly surprising that most people didn't seem in the best of moods.
Like most of the audience I missed Lesbian Dopeheads On Mopeds, better known as Gaye Bykers On Acid.
They were third on the bill according to the adverts and the tickets but, for doubtless good reasons played
first, and I suspect to a half empty hall.
The early bands were uninspiring and it was left to Nik Turner's Fantastic Allstars to put a bit of life into the
proceedings. They were briefly joined by another ex-Hawk, Simon House and for a while it looked like a
party atmosphere was going to set in.
Unfortunately things didn't really get going until the appearance of Dr And The Medics who got the
warmest reception of the day so far and then went on to earn it and in the process cut the queue for the
ladies loo in half for which I was very grateful.
But it was Hawkwind who everyone was there to see and the only disappointment was the length of the set,
which at only an hour didn't seem anywhere near long enough. However there were lots of Calvert songs,
'Damnation Alley', 'Ejection' and The Right Stuff', and it was nice to see ex-Hawks like Nik Turner, Simon
House and Martin Griffin get up and play along.
As tribute gigs go it was refreshingly cheery and was therefore what the man would have wanted.
"Sober and Seriously Skiffy" - excerpt from article on the 1987 Science Fiction Worldcon:
And then there was the Hawkwind concert where the safest place was under your seat. With eyeballs
throbbing in time to the brain-blasting beat, risking terminal deafness, not to mention an epileptic fit brought
on by Hawkwind's flashing back projection gear, I crouched through their legendary Chronicle Of The
Black Sword set, based on the Elric books by 'Britain's Number One SF writer', Michael Moorcock. Talk
about numb! Talk about almost overdosed on the esoteric!
1982 review of the Monmore Festival (publication unknown):
The sun was setting low over the horizon, largely obscured by lingering grey storm clouds, as Hawkwind
took the stage... The Ladbroke Stadium is more used to accommodating greyhounds and other assorted
canine oddities than hordes of be-denimed 'Wind fans, and the weather didn't do much to recommend the
venue. Before the rains came to dampen the ground, the wind whipped up the sand and cinders of the
racetrack and hurled them unmercifully in the faces of fans and performers alike. Altogether an
By the time I arrived my nerves were not all that they should have been. My nose was running, my throat
felt like broken glass and my body was just about to cease functioning normally. Tytan, Fireclown, Born
Loser and the Bailey Bros. had been and gone: sorry, guys. The alcohol did little to fortify me as I stepped
from the reasonably civilised confines of the guest's enclosure to brave the elements and catch the last of
Festivals are peculiar to the Heavy Metal temperament. The faithful show considerable resilience and an
almost perverse willingness to put up with the disgusting way they're treated on these occasions, so it's
always pleasing to see groups like Limelight establishing an instant rapport and delivering an enjoyable set in
Confession time: at this point my brain was beginning to seize up and my notes became unintelligible. I
retired to the sanctuary of the bar where I could watch Vardis from under shelter. The thing that struck
me first was their incredible energy: leaping and bounding about the stage, Zodiac and Galway looked like a
couple of reindeer on heat. Vardis are a basic boogie outfit and just what the doctor ordered as the evening
air hovered between 'chill' and 'petrified'. And then I noticed Zodiac's feet: bare appendages between flared
jeans. I was still trying to grapple with this horrific concept when BOOM! FLASH! It was all over.
I wanted a Night Nurse or a Beechams but settled for Hawkwind instead. The band came on in a chorus
of smoke and fireworks, some of which misfired perilously into the sidings. The punters gathered in front
of the stage, emerging from the various alcoves of the stadium and Hawkwind punched out some of the
newer material, proving just why they are the ultimate 'festival band'. They'd even brought their own
I still couldn't help feeling there was something lacking in the crew Baron Brock had collected this time, but
as I tried to fumble for an answer...suddenly it appeared. Nik Turner.
He screeched and wailed on his sax like a man possessed of some tortured animal that just had to be let
loose. It could have been 1972 all over again, save that the man now sports a cropped, punky hair-style
and leopard-skin slacks. They pummelled through 'Sonic Attack', delivered a membrane-wrenching version
of Turner's own composition 'Brainstorm' and climaxed, of course, with the Space Age anthem 'Silver
That was it. I was completely done in. If only Calvert had been there the scattered reamins of my frail,
wasted body wouldn't have even been worrth burying.
Brief 1974 piece on Bob Calvert (publication unknown):
The legendary Bob Calvert, writer and conceptual thinker, has built up a reputation through his
extraordinary ideas. It was he who devised the framework of the Space Ritual, and his "Captain Lockheed
And The Starfighters" creation was linked in rumour with Keith Moon and Viv Stanshall.
The Hawkwind Log which accompanied Hawkwind's "In Search Of Space" album was constructed by
Calvert. It is one of the most impressive correlations of relative ideas about our perspective and proportion
in the universe that has ever emerged from 'the rock culture'. Despite his effect upon the group's
development, Calvert's membership of the group has appeared irregular in the past. There have been
periods when he just seemed to depart and return without warning. He seemed to be migratory.
"Oh. Well you can't be there all the time. You can only be there some of the time. Yes, actually I wasn't
always but I have been recently. I've been ill, you see. So I disappeared for a while and came back. I
don't think I keep doing it actually. I think I've done it once. I was laid off, as it were."
1975 Gig review from Sounds
When you think about it, Hawkwind don't change much. The odd new member of course - an extra
drummer at the moment - an ever increasing and improving light show, but the basic elements have hardly
shifted in what, one, three, five years? So the band is in a rut, or has found the right formula, whichever
way you want to look at it. Me, I'll take the former, they're bogged down.
Mind you, I've always thought they were a bit, well, soggy - the sort of band who lack the spine-tingling
spiritual uplift that any band who want to be considered great should be able to produce. I'm taking their
concert at Cardiff's Capitol Theatre a week ago as my text this time, and I can't see any way anyone would
like to call that a good concert, plagued by mishaps and an appalling sound as it was. But my opinion, for
what it's worth, is that Hawkwind weren't much good despite their problems, although they and their loyal
fans will be able to use the misfortunes as good excuses.
Apart from one quiet little number towards the end, which was as badly received at Cardiff as were Led
Zeppelin when they once dared play acoustic, but was nevertheless very pleasant, the concert was one of
unrelieved pressure on the senses. Very little of it seemed to be coordinated towards the audience's
pleasure. Who can understand Stacia's mimes and Turner's symbolic theatricals as part of the music?
Who can manage to pay attention to Dave Brock's guitar -the only real musical gesture of the night- with
all the plethora of light shows abundant? And if you're so distracted from the sole item of merit -even if it
is deeply buried in a storm of miscellaneous noise from the other players- by all these ancillary activities,
what's the concert supposed to be about? We shall be back to having the band in the orchestra pit, and the
tomfoolery on stage by itself soon.
So you can keep Hawkwind for me at the moment, until they remember, like even Black Sabbath, to play
their music first, their effects last. And before you reach for your pens in disgust, I know what you're
going to say right now - that I don't understand Hawkwind's cosmic spirit, that they're a total sound
experience which sets the mind and body throbbing in ecstasy. Well don't bother to write - I can do that
already, thank you.