The third Hawkfest, and the second one I'd caught (five years on from Branscombe, it hardly seems
possible...) was a mixed success. There was much that was good: an excellent venue (easy to reach, secluded
and plenty of space), tireless logistical support from family, friends and crew, a relaxed and highly partisan
audience, Dave and Kris getting married, and the question and answer session - and of course the fine
centrepiece performance by the band. On the down side, the appalling weather, unscheduled gaps in the
programme, little information around on what was happening and too many of the bands who felt the need to
play at earth-shattering volume, so that the best sound balance was achieved outside and at the opposite side of
Friday was just miserable. As people arrived, torrential rain turned the festival site into a mudbath. Not much
was happening. A few tents with coins and pendants for sale, a "real festy music" shop, apparently
unconnected to the Real Festival Music (at least the Judge was not in evidence and nor were any of his CDs).
On the plus side, the hotel bar was open to festival goers and the toilets were working. As the water rose in
the fields, used straw (some smelling strongly of horse and pig) was put down in a fairly futile attempt to stop
the site turning into a quagmire. The highlight was Spacehead's set in the main tent.
The weather had brightened up somewhat on Saturday and the occasional band on the barn stage was worth
catching. The first highlight though was the question and answer session hosted by Matthew Wright. Richard,
Dibs, Fleece (sound), Dave, Kris, Marie of Chaos Illumination and Martin Griffin were up there. No Alan.
Questions were slow to start with but gained some momentum later. Dave was affable but tight-lipped on
some topics. "Will you ever play with Nik again?" "No!" "Where's Alan?" "Gone fishing". And that's all we got
on that topic. There was some mention though of other intended guests. Lemmy would have seen there but
called in sick. Stacia should have been there. Stacia! Tim Blake was banned from travelling by the French
authorities (fallout from his car crash) but was allegedly going to phone in some vocals.
|Hawkfest 2007 - by Graham P
This page is provided by Graham P, the same gent who brought you all the 'Music from the Hawkwind family
tree' reviews! My grateful thanks to him for the text and photos...
After PAIN left the stage there was a long wait until the Hawks took the stage and even once they were all
assembled there was another 20-minute delay before the equipment was all working. There were three
microphone stands along the front of the stage but it turned out that Dave was going to be using two of them.
Dibs got to set up the gear and play bass in Alan Davey's place (apparently even using the same computer).
Dave looked tired and gaunt but still put a lot of energy into the performance. Both he and Dibs had lyric
sheets on stage. Given the range of material tackled, including some very wordy Calvert penned pieces, this
was probably essential - and ensured that Dave got all the words right.
"Why weren't you in the BBC documentary?" Kris (who had to answer all the difficult questions) explained
that the producer's intent had been to emphasise the conflicts. By withdrawing one side of the argument they
effectively made that impossible. Good news from Kris was that the back catalogue except for the EMI stuff
will probably be reissued if all the ex-members could be persuaded to sign the contract (donâ€™t hold your
breath? This though is what Doug Smith was arguing for in the August 2007 Record Collector article - putting
together as much of the catalogue as possible in one place).
"Will you do another Hawkestra?". Dave said no: "too much stress and hard work". Martin Griffin said it was
great fun. "Should we buy Voiceprint records after the debacle last year?" Dave hesitated on this but ultimately
said yes, because they will put out the Brock-Calvert project. "Is there another studio album planned?" Not yet
because the rehearsal area is being re-roofed but there are three live DVDs due. Someone asked if Dave had a
favourite Hawkwind era, to which he replied that every era had something interesting, with different members
bringing different things to the band. And Dave has no plans to retire.
Rain stopped play in the main tent until 4 pm, when Relentless (apparently featuring a junior Griffin) proved to
be, well, relentless. I found their set best enjoyed from the far side of the site, where the volume was
bearable. Huw appeared outside. Dumpy did his Spacenutz set in the barn at 6pm. By now this is just over-
familiar and, after 20 minutes, I wandered off to check out what was happening elsewhere. That turned out to
be "Omnia Opera", one of the least offensive of the support bands. After a break I returned to catch a few
minutes of the "Tits of Death", an all girl band - who funnily enough seemed to have no difficulty in getting
help to load their gear into the van after their set. Back in the main tent, the last support act was "PAIN". And
they were a pain, scuzzy punks who shouted "songs" about fascism and the police. Another band best
appreciated from the far side of the field.
After a lengthy introduction the band played "The Right Stuff", complete with an extended, slowed down and
completely new middle section - while it dissipated the energy it was pretty effective. A slow instrumental
introduction, with Jason tinkling away on keyboards, gave way to Dibs' recitation of â€œThe Awakening".
The band then powered into a lively "Orgone Accumulator", with Dave on lead vocals. There was again a
slow section in the middle with wordless singing and a different tune which I couldn't quite place. Next up,
the new arrangement of "Paradox" from TMTYL, another favourite in whatever version.
"Robot" had Dave taking most of the lead vocals, although Richard did the "three laws of roboticsâ€�
spoken stuff. With little guitar, this brittle arrangement remains an uninspired adaptation. A much more
welcome revival was "Steppenwolf". Dave sang most of the vocals and did them well. Dibs did the spoken
German bits. An energetic "Flying Doctor" followed, Dibs on lead vocals and two young females on guest
"Warriors On The Edge Of Time" - recited by Dibs - was followed by "Assault and Battery"/â€�The Golden
Void" and an unexpected sidestep into "Where Are They Now?". A fabulous opening sequence. The sound
was excellent and the new four-piece were slick and polished. Dibs was born for this role and he sure as hell
earned it. His vocals were pretty restrained compared to the shouty Spacehead stuff and his bass playing was
spot-on. The back projections onto the sloping tent roof and the light show were effective, as a usual creating
a total audiovisual spectacle.
Next up was "Lighthouse". Tim Blake's phoned in contribution was nowhere to be heard and didnâ€™t even
get a mention. Dave took lead vocals. The female demon dancer did her first workout meantime, wafting
around the front of the stage. No partner this time, no guests on stage despite Huw, Martin Griffin, Dumpy
and Matthew Wright being available - unlike previous Hawkfests, this was a seriously thinned down show.
"Arrival In Utopia" was also good (except where Dave almost tripped over the lyrics at the beginning).
Against a backdrop of stars and Stonehenge, Dave then sang "Infinity". Another welcome revival, "Images",
with Dibs and Richard sharing the lead vocals, was followed by a real treat: Dibs sang lead vocals on "Only
The Dead Dreams Of The Cold War Kid", bringing Calvert's classic spy paranoia story to life.
A much less welcome revival was the "musical" version of "Sonic Attack" (which Brian Tawn once dubbed
"Chronic Attack"). "Assassins of Allah" closed the main set, with the demon dancer back on. After a brief
break the band returned to play "Master of the Universe"/"Welcome".
I guess we have our answer to "what is your favourite Hawkwind era?" question, as the Calvert years form
the centre of the set, although they didn't play "Quark" (yet). After the anticlimactic support, at least the
main attraction did us proud!
On Sunday the sun finally came out, not enough to dry out all the mud but at least the rain held off. The
biggest "support act" of the day was the small matter of a wedding. Dave and Kris getting hitched no less,
with an army of muddy festival goers on the guest list. Dave looked more like a gangster than a groom and
the good-humoured informality, with bride and groom posing for photos in the hotel courtyard, was great.
|Kris emerges from the chapel. Official video
cameraman Si with, er, video camera...
|The bride and godfather...I mean groom, sorry,
The second highlight was undoubtedly Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band. They started playing to a handful of
curious folks but more and more arrived as the set went on and virtually everyone was won over by their
corny humour and superbly recreated period music. Of course the free champagne offered to all by the
bride and groom helped things along. The Professor's mouth percussion was a wonder to behold and their
75 minute set was a joy from beginning to end. Mind you, the Pythons' "Always Look On The Bright Side
Of Life" and the Blues Brothers' "Somebody To Love" got the biggest cheers.
|[To be honest, this looks f***ing awful and I'm glad I missed it! - Steve]
Vazquez were also very listenable although their sensitive relationship songs didn't exactly get the blood
going. Last up were Lockup, whose infectious reggae/punk/dance hybrid received a good reception. They
know they're bloody good but are a bit too self-satisfied. For some reason they were allowed to play until
almost 9.30, guaranteeing that the main event would start late (which it did, by almost half an hour).
Tempers on stage became a bit frayed as the crew struggled to get things set up, with Keith Barton in
particular getting a bollocking for lack of focus.
Although they turned in an excellent set, Technicians of Spaceship Hawkwind (TOSH) was a bit of an
anticlimax. When the onstage gremlins had finally been sorted, Huw opened proceedings with an acoustic
set, complaining that he'd been ready since 4pm yesterday: his planned solo spot earlier in the day, as with
the previously billed Huw and Dave, had disappeared from the schedule. He did "Wars Are The Hobby
There", "Cardboard City", the intro to "5th Second...", "Wind of Change" (Huw's song of that name, of
course, not the Hawkwind instrumental) and (I think) "Black Mountainside". All were played competently
but plagued by poor sound and we've heard this set before. The concert proper started with a rousing
"Hurry On Sundown": Dave on lead vocals, Dibs on bass, Keith Barton on guitar, Billy on drums, Richard
on synth and vocals. Also on synths we had Spacehead's Floyd and Martin, formerly of Krel (at least that's
what it says on the Hawkwind Museum page, I had to look up who they were). The line-up was completed
by a cardboard cut-out of Star Trek Voyager's Jery Ryan, in a Hawkwind tee-shirt naturally - by far the
most attractive person on stage at that point, it has to be said!
Later on Marion Lloyd Langton came on and danced, Huw strapped on an electric guitar, Dave drifted on
and off, Dumpy came on, Hawklord of Shields read an alternative "10 Seconds Of Forever" and, at the end
of the set, two tall and gangly characters I'd never seen before (apparently from Coyote Wrecks) played
extra bass and guitar - at which point the sound balance got way too bass heavy (as might be expected with
two bass players on stage. A better idea than four bass players though!)
They did "Born To Go", an instrumental version of "Dreaming", "Space Is Deep", â€œLord Of Light",
"Brainstorm" (with Dumpy on extra lead guitar), "Ejection" (Keith on rather feeble lead vocals), "Shouldn't
Do That" (Keith again on les than wonderful lead vocals) and closed out with "Quark, Strangeness and
While everything was kosher when Dave was on guitar and vocals, otherwise TOSH is basically
SpaceHeadRitual: a bunch of guys all but one of whom never played on the original Space Ritual album,
doing authentic sounding cover versions. Reminds me of another band! No encore due to the curfew. Kris
thanked everyone for putting it together and Dibs said that's it, time's up and Tarantism were on in the barn
soon. A good time to leave. And so, without further adieu...