|Thanks to Justin Redgrave for this review of Hawkwind's headlining appearance at the Fordham Festival,
near Cambridge, on an auspicious date...
I made the Fordham Festival on Friday. I travelled down on Friday afternoon and arrived around 15:30
without a ticket. Pulled into the site and immediately saw Dave & Kris walking down the car park, the first
bit of good news confirmed, as I knew the Hawks would be playing. I relinquished my Â£25 for the
yellow 'Friday' ticket and parked the car. Listened to the cricket (Eng v SA) before deciding to take a walk
around 17:00ish and get my bearings. The festival wasn't large by any means. It's difficult to estimate but
I'd say maybe 1000+ people. Their were two outdoor stages, the main stage and the â€˜Big Wam' stage (I
think that's what it was called). There may well have been another indoor stage within a tent at the back
end of the site but I didn't venture into it.
The organizers had put a few fairground attractions at the back too, though not many. One beer tent, a
poster stall, a candle stall (the 'flying candles' were well received by the crowd after dusk) and three or
four snack bars and that's your lot. I'd seen the lot in ten minutes and decided to wander back to the car.
En route I saw Dave & Kris again and politely asked the Captain what time Hawkwind would be playing on
stage - he and Kris jovially replied 22:30! I grabbed a 'hot pork' sandwich - it was neither hot nor was
there much pork, just crackling and as I knew I was in for a long one, including the drive back home, I
retired back to the car for a rest (and more cricket).
Around 21:00 I returned to watch
a couple of bands, but seeing a
three piece metal band (long haired
guitarist / bassist and black
drummer / vocalist) fire up on the
main stage not much before 22:00
I knew the Hawks wouldn't be
hitting it at 22:30. Whilst they were
on I wandered over to the other
stage where a young band from
Guilford (The Getaway Team)
were soundchecking to about 15
people. They started their set and
I wanted to find out whether you
could hear music from the main
stage at the same time as both
stages were pretty close to each
other. I made sure I'd got a
decent spot at 22:30 and waited
for the stage crew to sort out the
Hawks gear. Tim and Richard wandered on, then Dibs, then Dave (around ten to eleven). I think Dave
was getting restless and around 23:00 you could make out him running his pick down the strings of his
guitar - however, there was no sound coming from the PA so when the band then started the opening
number, Black Corridor' you could barely make out anything above the crowd chatter. Then the PA
(finally) kicked in mid-recital and we were off. The set was as follows:
Black Corridor: Aerospaceage Inferno: Splashfin; The Awakening: Orgone Accumulator: You Know You're
Only Dreaming: Orgone Accumulator: Abducted: Time We Left: Who's Gonna Win The War: Arrival In
Utopia: Assassins Of Allah: Space Is Their (Palestine): Assassins Of Allah: Paradox: Lighthouse: Right To
Decide: Sonic Attack: Damnation Alley: Encore - Flying Doctor: Second encore: Spirit Of The Age:
The gig started off just as the Wyefest had done, and I was hoping for a set change (having missed
Hawkfest 2008) - the first such change was Time We Left following Dibs' version of Abducted. Jason
then proceeded to play some piano in Em, D, C - I wouldn't have been surprised if this was a slightly
enlongated introduction to Paradox, but no, it was Who's Gonna Win The War (!) sung by Richard with
Dave joining in for the chorus. I'd never heard this one live before so I was pleased at it's (re)
introduction. The backdrop played rockets firing on a building at night (could be Iraq footage?). The only
downside is that it went on too long, nearly ten minutes. It's one song where nobody seemed to know
when / where to end it. Following this, Arrival In Utopia had the 'Death Trap riff' and Dibs' spoken part.
Assassins Of Aalla had Tim playing the intro and sounded different from previous versions, though it still
included Space Is Their. Dibs didn't remember all the "It is written...in the soul of the desert" etc. parts. n
Then we had the current regulation arrangement of Paradox. The piano is too similar to the intro to Who's
Gonna Win The War, imo - see above.
Tim spoke the intro (Captain's Log) from Lighthouse, though Dave sang - there was some banter between
Dave and Tim about Captain's dreams before the song started. Then we got a completely different
sounding Right To Decide - probably because there was no background synth as on Electric Teepee / trio
versions. I liked it but perhaps it didn't rock like the original. For Sonic Attach we got, dancers with
bicycle wheels (I cringe at that) before Damnation Alley, which was good but Dave's guitar was lost in the
mix, lots of Tim solo (very good).
The encore was Flying Doctor with Dibs apologising that the curfew meant they couldn't play any more -
but the band trooped back on stage within a couple of minutes and Dave announced that they were allowed
to continue, so they would play a sing-a-long number, Spirit Of The Age. And that was it.
Personally, I enjoyed this more than the previous month's Wyefest, probably due to the set change. Tim
enjoyed himself and was either very high in the mix or inaudible, depending on what the sound guy was
thinking. Dave's guitar was way too low in the mix, leaving Jason's piano too high. Dibs' bass was very
bassy, not in an Alan Davey way, but more in turning all the treble off and all the bass on his controls up!
Decent response from the crowd, but it had been a long day, and it was a long drive home...