|Gig Review 2 - Croydon Fairfield Halls, 25th March 2001
|If you don't put that joint out I will
take your head, like so, and twist it
through 360 degrees, got it?
Hawkwind are playing here tonight, and so is 60's British guitar zero
Joe Brown. You wouldn't know it from the bar inside the Fairfield Halls
... wall-to-wall HW. But go into the bogs, and you are surrounded by
identikit men, all five feet tall and four feet wide with uniformly
subdued quiffs: Joe Brown fans. Why were they all in the bogs?
Show starts at 8pm so we wander into the auditorium at 8.15pm.
Bedouin are already on, thought HLL would have been propping up the
bill. Maybe Alan Davey needs the break between sets. Not seen
Bedouin before, they are pretty good. They play "LSD" from Electric
Tepee. Go up to the back of the auditorium to smoke, see bouncers
converging on us. Have to go outside to smoke. The Fairfield Halls is
staffed by affable old buffers in blazers, there's no smoking in the hall,
and the security seems edgy. We go outside to have a puff and are
being all surreptitious about it. Then we see an anarchic looking HW fan stumbling out the door, brazenly
lighting an enormous spliff, downward curving like a banana. Ha ha ha!
Back inside, Huw Lloyd Langton is halfway through his acoustic set. It's all right. He finishes and
Hawkwind come on. Dave encourages us to applaud Huw and says "Huwie will be back later for
Motorway City". Huw goes off - it's 9pm. There is a rush for the front and security spread themselves out
to stop us from storming the stage like smitten schoolgirls at a Westlife gig. And they stop people from
smoking too. Ron asks them to chill out, well done Ron. Launch into Assault & Battery, followed by
Golden Void. Sound is good, the band are tight and the lights are good. Richard is on drums, really low at
the back of the stage. Dave is behind his synths stage right, also towards the back. I have heard he likes
football, I bet he plays at right back. Jerry Richards is out on the left (as the audience sees the stage). Alan
Davey to the right of him, Ron Tree in the middle, and Simon House is playing at Centre Back.
Simon looks amazing, an abstracted college professor in an episode of Morse (but dressed like an old
hippy). Alan Davey is really hammering the bass tonight, playing right on or even in front of the beat. The
band is f***ing tight. Dave is in good humour & wearing a Hawkwind Galactic Tour t-shirt in the style of
the Weird CD cover art. He has grown his tache back. Also on stage are new keyboard player Keith
Kniveton, known to some as Captain Bl@ck of Starfield. He is on the right wing (football, not politics!).
And the bloke who played sax at Hawkestra/Astoria, whose name I still didn't catch -he dresses like one of
the Blues Brothers- is at front right, intermittently blocking view of The Captain.
I think I am going to be thrown out by security when they poke me in the shoulder and tell me no smoking.
They settle for it being stubbed out. Meanwhile there is an intense looking geezer near me, must be a speed
freak. He's got a real Dickensian snarl on him too and is monopolising the left ear of someone who plainly
doesn't want to know - both of them are engulfed in dry ice and when it clears the speed freak has
wandered off somewhere. The atmosphere lightens and I find myself grinning like an idiot, Alan Davey
plainly thinks so when I make eye contact with him. I also grinned like an idiot at a lady who was
backstage, taking photos with a digital camera. I have seen her before, last at Blackheath in 1997. I don't
know who she is, but she smiled back. I think it might be Kris Tait.
The set list is very mid-70's, the highlights are the most unexpected numbers - You'd Better Believe It and
Spiral Galaxy 28948. With Alan and Simon playing it is like the band of ten years ago, a really good period.
But no Bridget Wishart. No Sam Fox either. Or Tim Blake. Or dancers. This is kind of a stripped down
show by HW standards but they are playing like demons tonight. Captain Rizz came and did his thing,
Huwie did indeed come back, played on a few numbers before they finished. And came back for an
encore, Motorway City. Excellent to hear that again. Then Hurry On Sundown, and that was it. The
house lights came back on, Huw took a last bow and said "uh" into a microphone. And the buffoons in
blazers ushered us out of the building and we had to go home. Aldershot next Sunday, we will be there. Joe