Gig Review 9 - Chicago Cubby Bear, 24/8/97

Thanks to Frank Weil, who wrote this review.  It previously appeared on his Golden Void
website which is now shut down :-( and appears here by permission!
Richard  Chadwick played!  (So did Dave
Brock, Ron Tree and Jerry Richards)
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First, let me say that I thought the show was excellent.

Second, if it weren't for the boc-l mailing list and the
flier I got in the mail, I probably would never have
known the show was going on. The only advance notice
that was given was the band's name with the date in the
Cubby Bear's listing in the Chicago Reader and the New
City (both free weekly newspapers). There was no other
advertising that I saw, and nothing in the "Early
Warning" section of the Reader. Even the Cubby Bear,
which is across the street from Wrigley Field (home of
the Chicago Cubs - hence the name), did not deem it
worthy to put Hawkwind's name up in advance on their
large outdoor electronic message center (you know, the
kind of marquee that scrolls text in lights). On the day of
the show, Hawkwind was still only infrequently mentioned on the marquee. How do they expect to sell
tickets if no one knows about the show? The attendance at the show was only about 200 or 300 people,
which is smaller than I can remember ever being at a Hawkwind or Nikwind show in Chicago. Hell, they
didn't even have advanced ticket sales through T*ck*tm*st*r or at the box office. Sigh. I hope that they
were still able to make money, and that it didn't sour them from coming back to the States again sometime
in my lifetime.

Anyway, on to the show itself. The Cubby Bear is rather small, but the sound was excellent and the small
size of the crowd meant that there was plenty of room to move around. The crowd was enthusiastic
despite their numbers.

The opening band was called Electric Medicine, and they weren't too bad, but not ready for prime time.
Let's move right on to the starring attraction.

Hawkwind came on and all the members seemed to be in good spirits. Dave was joking with the audience
the whole time, and Ron came out painted in green from the waist up. They started right into their set.
The set list was:


Wheels
Warrior on the Edge of Time
Assault & Battery
Golden Void  (after which, Dave said "That was Golden Void and such")
Hassan I Sabha / Space is Their / Hassan I Sabha
Starflight
Alchemy
Love in Space
Aerospaceage Inferno
Sonic Attack
Blue Skin
Brainstorm / The Camera that could Lie / Brainstorm
Alien I Am
Reptoid Vision

Encore:

Ejection
Black Corridor
Ejection

I didn't time the show, but I seem to remember it being a little over an hour long.

Again, the set was great overall. The band sounded very tight, which is amazing considering the changes
lately. Ron sounded good on bass, Dave was actually playing some guitar and was (believe it or not)
visible behind his synthesizers, Richard was in his usual "in a zone and playing perfectly" state, and Jerry
was adding a wonderfully powerful guitar sound. They were rocking out more than I can remember them
sounding in a long time. Anyone who was afraid that Hawkwind was sliding into ambient need only have
been present to see that that is not happening.

Random thoughts:

For the entire show, the lighting guys were furiously swapping the circular film thingies that made the
swirly visual effects (sorry for all the technical jargon :-), and I think it came off pretty well given the
small size of the venue and the stage.

I had a brief chance to talk to Jim Lascko. He seems like a nice guy, and he should be thanked for all the
effort he put in.

The t-shirt that was for sale was basic black and was printed in glow-in-the-dark ink. It has the shield
design on the front and the tour dates on the back. For a black-and white shirt (well, really
black-and-a-sort-of-glowing-off-green), it looks pretty cool.

Gerry Richards is a welcomed addition to the band. I got a chance to talk to Gerry after the show and he
was very friendly. Physically, he is actually pretty easy to describe. Image that both Frank Zappa and
Tony Iommi are running through an airport to catch a plane. Picture them colliding trying to both get
through the metal detector at the same time and then fusing together into one person. Now go describe the
result to your friendly neighborhood sketch artist. The resulting drawing will look exactly like Gerry.

I can't wait to get a chance to see them again. I have every confidence in this incarnation of the band.