|Hawkwind - Chronicle Of The Seventh Gig
I would have liked to have known the answer to beforehand. When we reached the place selling clothes
and programmes I found the answer printed on a t-shirt pinned to a board. The band was Dumpy's Rusty
Nuts. Half a minute later spotted Dumpy coming down the steps with empty pint glass in hand. I'd seen
the group on Channel 4's "ECT" and hadn't thought much of them. I wasn't too bothered by that, and
when they finally came onstage I was pleasantly surprised.
They weren't that bad. In fact, some of it was pretty good. And the last song they played, which I think
was called "Cross-Keys", really got me going. Other songs were quite funny. Singing "Hot Lover" and
then "Fat Fucker" raised a smile or two, even though it wasn't mind-blowing, the sort of music I'd seek
out. "Hawkwind are my favourite band". Dumpy told the masses. He chatted with the audience a fair bit
during his stay. All in all, a good warm-up for the main band, and infinitely superior to other support
groups I have seen play with Hawkwind (notably Bronze and Wildfire).
At this point my energy was running low. Feeling tired, yawning, decided to do something positive about
it and went in search of the food bar. The smell of burning cannabis was everywhere. Many people
passing around joints. There was a great atmosphere. I found myself looking at people quite a bit when
conversation was sparse between friends. A great writer must do this - I must do it more often. One
friend was kicking himself because he hadn't brought any mushrooms with him. I wish he had. Before
the first band there had been dry ice and lots of lasers around the room. New perspective on
proceedings? But I'd taken mushrooms the night before, and effects might not have been so profound. At
times I thought I might still be tripping a little. Things seemed so amazing.
When Hawkwind entered the scene, my mind attained a terrific high. Rushing to get drinks, I missed the
beginning but still heard the sound. Eventually purchased drinks, scrambled through the cluster of
frenzied folk to find friends. Settled down after trying for fifteen minutes to find a good spot. Couldn't
really find one. The place was so packed out, had to settle for the steps: not a bad view, but constantly
shuffled about to let people through.
What could I see?
I saw Huw Lloyd-Langton. I saw Dave Brock. I saw a new drummer, which the "Urban Guerrilla"
fanzine says is Clive Deamer (sorry, can't afford every expensive programme booklet). Plus Harvey
Bainbridge on keyboards and Alan Davey (I think) on bass guitar. All were dressed in black cloaks with
hoods. And then I spotted Elric moving about on stage. Moving to the music that was being played...
Music from the new LP "The Chronicle of the Black Sword" based on the Elric series of books by
Michael Moorcock. Elric the albino. I'd wondered before the gig whether they would play mostly new
material. I thought that might bog down the show a little. They didn't, though - every new track seemed
to be followed by old.
Later on, Elric produced his magical sword Stormbringer as another song began. Swinging it about at the
audience. Images were being projected onto the white screen behind the band. Eyes penetrating the
audience. Slides were flashed on and off with the art of Boris Vallejo and H.R. Geiger. Demons,
barbarians: the works. Elric's wife was introduced and danced in the middle of the stage. A series of
patterns were introduced at the back and run together in quick succession, growing and receding,
grabbing my mind and giving it a good stimulation. Elric appeared again and started to fight with someone
dressed rather like Robin of Sherwood, finally, it seemed, committing suicide. The lights, the projection,
the music, the performance... it was all too much.
What did they play?
They played a lot of the new album which I have yet to buy (though will do -soon). They played "Assault
6 Battery", "Angels of Death"; they performed medleys, and even included at the end a bit of "Levitation",
the song I had wanted them to play all night. I closed my eyes in a fit of euphoria, and when I opened
them... the band had finished.
That had been the encore. There was only one, much to the dismay of almost everyone there with an
almighty "hurrr". The encore, admittedly, had been quite long, but two's better than one to an audience
awaiting a repeat performance. The band's playing seemed to me to be the best yet that I have seem at a
live performance, and there was a really clear sound throughout. Hawkwind produced the most
psychedelic stage show I have seen. Magic. Simply magic. The band may be well over a decade old, but
on the evidence of that night they certainly have many more years left in them. Hawkwind may live
forever. Here's to Hawkwind, then, and here's to the next time...soon, I hope.
This gig review comes from issue number 1 of a
fanzine called Ergot, published in 1986. Savour
the nostalgia of gigs awash with fans smoking
Date: 12th November. Day: Tuesday. Year:
1985. Timefix: 6.45. Caught bus with a friend
into Nottingham. Arrived 7.15 approx. Went to
pub nearby for a drink and a smoke. Was
looking forward to seeing Hawkwind for the
fourth time. The venue: Rock City. Left pub at
eight. Doors opened at ten past. Saw other
friends waiting in the queue in front.
Acknowledged their presence. Was searched by
bouncer before going in. He looked in tobacco
tin and scrutinized my box of Rips. "What's this
?" he asked. "Rolling Material", I replied. "Oh
yeah". For split-second thought I might be
chucked out for possession of dubious article. I
wasn't. Handed over ticket and gained entrance
into the inner sanctum. There at last. What a
long time it had been, and what a night I would
Who were the support band? That was a question