Gig Review 5 - The Forum, Kentish Town, 20th December 2001

This review was written by Ormuzd, whose name lives in infamy elsewhere on this site.  
Here he is, living out the lyrics of the Motorhead song "Iron Horse"
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The best HW gig I've ever seen.

Line-up: DB, Huw, Alan, Richard, Simon, plus Tim Blake and (the big surprise) Danny Thompson on a
second kit for much of the set. Plus a few spots from Rizz.

The set: Magnu / Down Through the Night / Lighthouse / Levitation / Spiral Galaxy / Moonglum / Brainbox
Pollution / Wind of Change / Rizz spoken intro / The Watcher / Spacebrock / Sonic Attack / Time We Left
This World Today / Motorway City / Hurry On Sundown

Encores: Hassan I Sabbah / Ejection

It was loud as hell, sound did get murky at times, but the pulsating wall-of-sound effect was worth any
temporary loss of clarity.  Tremendous lightshow with slides and projections from the recent tour on
screens big enough to do them justice.  But the real visual treat was the footage of the Starfighter and the
wacky aviation cartoons during Ejection.

But this was a great gig because of the atmosphere.  For some reason there was more of it than at any HW
gig I've attended since the 80s.  Crowd very into it.  There was an excitement, an edge, a sense of event.  A
deep, dark psychedelic communion.  The lights and smoke reduced the band to silhouettes much of the time
which made it all the more mysterious and intense.

The music: enough set changes from the tour to keep set-watchers happy.  The more melodic numbers
(Moonglum, Motorway City) suffered a bit from the pulverising volume and maximum blanga approach, but
it didn't matter.  Time We Left was incredible - truly barbaric in its ferocity.  Or the moment when Alan's
evil bass riff kicked in at the start of The Watcher - that will stay with me for a long time.  Biggest surprise
was Sonic Attack: done as a trance techno number.  Everyone except Dave left the stage -a relentless
electronic rhythmic assault followed- I thought it was going to turn into "Sex Dreams" but after a few
minutes of punishing bass heavy beats, Rizz appeared and he and Dave ripped through Sonic Attack.  It was
an audacious move, a total departure, but I thought it worked wonderfully.

I admit I groaned inwardly when Hassan-i-Sahba began: I had hoped they might rest this from the set, it's
been there forever it seems.  But I was wrong.  It was blistering, the best I've ever heard it, from the
extended intro where Tim's synths and Simon's violin combined to memorably eerie effect, to yet another
new take on the middle section - largely improvised this time (or so it seemed to me), Huw the star as he
has been so often of late, up to the pounding crescendo.  Then Ejection with the reggae-fied middle section
that just gets better and better- definitely the best space reggae we've yet heard from HW.

Amazing night. And the trains were even running on time.

NM