Gig Review 10 - Nikwind at the Chicago Lounge Ax, 04/02/94

Thanks to Frank Weil, who wrote this review.  It previously appeared on his Golden Void
website which is now shut down :-( and appears here with his permission!
Above: Nik, as he didn't look in
1997

Right: a photo taken at the Atlanta
date of Nik's 1994 US tour (-
from the Yahoo! Hawkwind
Group's photos section)
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The doors to the bar opened at 9:00. When I got in line at about 8:30, there were about 40 or 50 people
lined up already. There were maybe 75 or so people in line when the doors opened. While talking to the
other people in line, it seemed like there was a surprisingly high percentage that had seen the Space Ritual
tour when it came through Chicago in the 70's.

Lounge Ax is small. It holds maybe 400 people if it is completely packed. I figure that there were about
300 or 350 people there by the time Nikwind came on stage (Note: I am terrible at judging how many
people are at an event, so take these numbers with a grain of salt. After getting in the club, I walked over
to the bar, which basically takes up the entire back half of the club by the entrance. The club wasn't
letting anyone up to the front half (by the stage) until the sound check was completed. Most people were
crammed up by the entrance to the front half, so I stayed back at the end of the bar right next to the
entrance.

Nik Turner was sitting at the end of the bar. At this point, a grand total of five people (including myself)
had noticed him there. I have a hard time believing that we were the only ones who recognized him (he
was dressed in normal clothes and wearing a wool cap), so I suspect most people were too busy trying
to get to the front to notice him.

Anyway, Nik was extremely soft spoken and friendly. He gladly was signing autographs (one guy must
have had over a dozen records, CDs, etc. to get signed) and chatting. He signed my copy of Prophets of
Time and we talked briefly. I get the distinct impression that Nik actually cares about his fans a lot.

To make what will probably turn out to be a long story marginally shorter, I'll skip forward to show time.

The band Sleep came on at 10:00. I'll put in a dissenting opinion to the previous reviews: I liked them.
They are a slightly above average doom metal band. They have obviously been influenced heavily by
Black Sabbath. They reminded me of Cathedral from the Forest of Equilibrium days. Sleep played until
about 10:45.

At 11:25, the Nikwind show started. Ghost Dance was being played on a mostly dark stage. From behind
us, the sounds of whatever those overgrown rattles are called could be heard. Nik was making his way
through the crowd from the back in his trademark outfit (body suit, white makeup with black band
around his eyes, cape, hockey helmet) playing those rattle thingies.

The following is the set list. The ???'s are the songs that I have no idea what the names are. A bunch of
those were sung by Helios Creed.


Ghost Dance
Watching the Grass Grow
D-Rider
Master of the Universe
Sonic Attack
???
???
??? (King of the Fairies?)
Utopia
Brainstorm
Thoth
Ejection
??? (some spoken song like Standing at the Edge)
Right Stuff
Flute solo with Serenade for a Cuckoo
??? (a Chrome song)
You Shouldn't Do That
Orgone Accumulator
Silver Machine
In the Mood

The show "ended" at 1:25. Then Nik came out and started a solo sax rendition of In the Mood. About
half way through, the drummer joined in with some backing rhythm. The show really ended at about 1:30.

After the show, they were selling programs and CDs. Unfortunately, they were out of t-shirts and Turner
CDs. All they had were from Pressurehed and Chrome. I was able to get a program, though. The
program was $10, but I must say that the quality was lacking. You would be hard pressed to find a page
without several typos and spelling mistakes (for example, consistently spelling "their" as "thier"). Also, I
think the actual material that is in the program would be much more cohesive looking if I were on acid.
However, it wasn't horrible, it did come with a bumper sticker, and I don't mind spending a little extra to
help support the tour (the cover charge was only $10).

During the show, Nik said that they were recording the show and taking videos. They plan to officially
release a live album and video of the tour. He also talked about the legal problems he is having with
Hawkwind (he mentioned Brock specifically), and said that Hawkwind had managed to get some shows
cancelled on them. The crowd (and everyone I talked to in line) seemed very aware that the show was
not Brock et al, and seemed to be supportive of Nik bringing the show to the people.

The light show was a bit disappointing, but the stage and club were so tiny that I don't think there was
much they could do. Mostly, the lights consisted of a strobe, a blacklight, and a bubble light.

My overall impression of the show was that it was excellent. The sound was mostly rather good but
loud. I stuffed kleenex in my ears, and the sound level seemed to be just about right, then. It is difficult to
pick a high point of the show, but it might be D-Rider. Considering that I haven't heard this a million
times on compilations and live albums, I'm sure there is a freshness factor involved.

The Pressurehed/Chrome/Creed songs (or whatever the ???'s above are) were good, driving songs
reminiscent of older Hawkwind. I thought they added to the energy level of the show. The band
members themselves were playing well together, and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The bottom line is that the show was well worth seeing.