|Hawkwind at the Lyceum 1980
It was too long ago, and I remember not that much of the actual gig, for me to call this a Gig
Review. It's more of a recollection, like Dave Dignum's Space Ritual Memories page elsewhere on
Thanks to Bill Barwick and Mark Newbury for their recollections. Anyone else?
As they were: (L-R) Tim Blake, Harvey Bainbridge, Dave Brock, Simon King, Huw Lloyd-Langton
|Above: (L-R:) Huw, Dave, Harvey, Simon, Tim.
From the Sonic Boom Killers CD
|Above: ad for the gig. I think Magic Michael played
instead of Beatnix, and was allegedly utterly crap!
I have heard that he is now working as a bus
conductor in Dave Museum's manor of Westcliff
On Sea (Essex) Here's hoping for an exclusive
interview to appear in the Hawkwind Museum!
Hawkwind at the Lyceum, Sunday 20th July, 1980
This was part of a series of all-dayers that the Lyceum was hosting at the time. The usual format was 5
bands on a Sunday, and this was the case with Hawkwind. It wasn't part of a proper tour, more like one in
a series of one-off gigs that they had been doing since Stonehenge that year (21/6/80)
The Lyceum had been a ballroom in its' time, and a theatre, but was in 1980 plying a trade as a pretty
decent rock venue. Tucked away at the eastern end of The Strand, where it meets Aldwych, it's only a 15
minute stroll from Charing Cross train station. I took my then 15-year old sister with me for her one and
only Hawkwind gig (so far).... We found the venue first and I asked one of the unshaven but tuxedo-clad
bouncers if the doors would be open all night. "No," he said "it gets a bit parky about 2 o'clock in the
We went to eat at a Wimpy (McDonalds were few and far between in England in those days!) and then
came back to the Lyceum. Inside, it was full up already; the first two bands on the bill had already played,
and I don't remember who they were, but I suspect Magic Michael may have opened the show. The
crowd was a sea of black leather and denim, and the atmosphere was heavy with patchouli oil and ganja
smoke. Little Sis did not seem at all phased by this. It was one of the most homogenous Hawkwind
crowds I can recall - heavy biker element. There was nowhere to sit, so we found somewhere to stand
and wait to see what would happen.
The 3rd band on the bill were Out On Blue Six, a New Wave band starting to shade off into New Romantic
territory, with dual vocalists (one male, one female) plus bass / drums / guitar / keyboard. The crowd did
not take kindly to them, bawling "Haaaawkwiiind" all through their set and hurling beer cans at them. The
biggest cheer of Out On Blue Six's set came when the male vocalist was hit on the head by a can. As he
had a voluminous floppy fringe, or as close as you can get to floppy when your hair is actually frizzy, the
can more or less bounced off. In retrospect it was rather surprising that Out On Blue Six didn't flounce
off. Instead, they stuck it out and when announcing their last song, said "Don't worry, you'll get your
Hawkwind". They then played an extempore number which featured the female vocalist delivering a high
speed rant about "dirty smelly greasy apes". I rather admired their spirit.
There followed one of those interminable interludes between sets in which there was nothing much to do
except drink and check out the crowd. One bloke near me looked familiar, wearing a black leather jacket
with white lapels. When I looked again, it was Simon King, chatting to a member of the audience. His hair
was shorter than I'd seen it before.... I was mulling over the idea of going over and saying hi to him when
there was a muted roar and the entire crowd of some 2,000 people got to their feet and saluted someone or
other. Craning my neck I realised Lemmy had come into the auditorium - Hail the Dark Lord! I had to
explain to my younger sibling who Lemmy was.
Inner City Unit came on and ran through their set. This was the only time I have ever seen them and I
wasn't that thrilled with them, though they played well. Looking at Steve Pond's site, I assume the band
must have consisted of Nik Turner (yes, he was definitely there), Mick Stupp on drums, Dead Fred on
bass, Trev Thoms on guitar, Steve Pond on synth. No idea about their set list. However they did play
'Route 66' with Lemmy guesting on guitar! He played quite a decent solo as I recall....
More waiting around and then Hawkwind came on. The band consisted of Dave Brock, Harvey Bainbridge
on bass, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Tim Blake and Simon King. After all this time I don't remember what was in
their set, except for "Who's Gonna Win The War" and "Motorway City". These were new numbers then,
in fact I was probably hearing them for the first time ever. A search of the archives of the
BOC-L/Hawkwind email list confirms the setlist as:
intro / shot down in the night / motorway city / urban guerilla / prelude / who's gonna win the war / world
of tiers / dust of time / space chase / brainstorm
In other words, the new "Levitation" material with a couple of numbers from the 1979 set that was
captured on the Live 79 album. So most of this would have been new to me - Live 79 had not yet been
released and Levitation had yet to be recorded. The 2 tracks I do remember by name were the highlights of
the show, both struck me as excellent new numbers. "Who's gonna Win The War" was extremely topical
as there was a great deal of tension between the USA and the USSR at the time, with the Americans having
launched an abortive raid into Iran and the Russians having invaded Afghanistan just the year before...
The sound quality wasn't quite up to scratch, and the band played at less than their best - it came across as
sounding like a warm-up gig. During one of the numbers, Motorway City, I think, a motorised robot came
out on stage and rolled around on wheels. No-one realised it at the time, of course (and I've only just
twigged 22 years later) that this was Simon King's last gig with Hawkwind, and that Tim Blake had not too
many more to go....
My impressions of the gig were that I was underwhelmed. I had previously seen Hawkwind at the
Southampton Gaumont on the UK 1979 Winter Tour (26/11/79),which was a storming performance - this
one wasn't as good. However, my sister was suitably impressed and it converted her to the band, who she
still likes even if she's not managed to see them since. And I was back for the Autumn 1980 tour, so it
can't have been too bad! I've often wondered what happened to Out On Blue Six, though...
Thanks to Denis Regenbrecht for the information on his site www.d-rider.de, which enabled me to confirm
the band's line-up and to Bernhard Pospiech for the setlist. Proof of the vaunted German efficiency, I'd say
PostScript - Bill Barwick adds this recollection:
Just read your review of the Lyceum gig 20/7/80. Laughed at the mention of Out On Blue Six. My
recollection of the end of their set is a little different. Like you said they weren't going down at all well, but
I remember the girl singer saying something along the lines of "Alright, you all know this one". Many of us
Mark Newbury remembers it thus:
I'm positive that the Hawkwind Lyceum all dayer was in August 1980. Late June '80, saw Nik Turner,
Dave Brock et al playing Stonehenge as "Hawklords" (I think). I was there for 3 weeks - cold, hungry,
broke & trying to avoid being beat up by biker gangs - who took a dislike to Crass playing a set.
The running order for the all dayer was:
-Magic Michael : can't really remember anything from his set
-The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (Latterly the money-burning dance superstars KLF)
-Out On Blue Six : I remember the canning off incident. When the band walked off the (woman) singer
made a reference to "love & peace hippies". If memory serves me right, the DJ made some reference along
the lines of "well that's enough of that rubbish, here's a song you all know, it's the Byrds". This got a
passing mention in the followings weeks NME as "Space Cadets bottle off Out On Blue Six at Lyceum all
dayer - shows what sort of people go to Hawkwind gigs". I think the Lyceum used to attract a pretty nasty
audience - I saw 'Dead Fingers Talk' bottled off stage a couple of years before. (Mind you, that were nowt
compared to when David Sylvian's Japan opened the set for Blue Oyster Cult at Newcastle City Hall in
-Inner City Unit : opened the set with (I think) "Watching the Grass Grow" a happy bouncy little number all
about the aftermath of global nuclear war. Hence all the barbed wire & stuff on stage - Judge Trev wore a
(plastic) dead rat as an earring. Very fetching! Steve Pond's ICU website
(http://www.doremi.co.uk/icu/calvert.html) used to have some photo's of the gig. He currently has a
Calvert bootleg (Carlise) on MP3. Excellent quality recording & great versions of Quark, Damnation Alley &
Days of the Underground. I (& about three other people) saw Rob Calvert play in Newcastle the day
before. Judging by the clapping it sounds like a similar number turned up in Carlise as well - shame really.
Lemmy was there. If memory serves me right, he was pretty well out of it & a roadie had to give him a
hand strapping a guitar on. He played rhythm guitar on "Route 66", though I can't remember any guitar
solo, though do remember him flicking lighted cigarettes into the audience.
-Hawkwind : this definitely enters the "top 10 worst bands I ever saw" list - boring, bland, no emotion at all.
A disappointing end to an otherwise excellent day...
Martin Treanor was there, too...
I was at the Lyceum gig myself and although it seems a lifetime ago, I can confirm that Hawkwind or
rather Tim Blake gave a rather compelling rendition of Lighthouse with many of the crowd heard to say "It's
his band now". Inner City Unit included a storming rendition of Glen Miller's "In The Mood". My only other
recollection is receiving an apology from Lemmy who stood on my foot - not that I was going to argue as
he's f*****g huge!. I enjoyed this gig though it was only a short while later that I saw them at Chelmsford
and was put off seeing them for a further five years - no Tim Blake, no lightshow and an execrable Ginger
Baker drum solo in the middle of "Brainstorm" Yuck!
John Effay remembers it like this:
I was at the Lyceum gig as well, and just wanted to add a couple of things.
Firstly, Mark Newbury is wrong about the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu playing. [As I have been also] It
was, as your scan of the poster makes clear, The Androids of Mu: An all female punk band formed by a
couple of the backing singers from the Here & Now. They played feminist/sci fi rants such as '(I don't
want to be a) Boring Housewife'. I thought they were great, but I was possibly the only person there who
Out on Blue Six were awful, but nowhere near as bad as Magic Michael, whose guitarist was guesting from
The Lightning Raiders (I have no idea who they were, but this was announced as though it was incredibly
significant). I missed the canning incident as I was upstairs in the bar buying Lemmy a drink, along with
just about everybody else who had spotted him. No wonder he was wasted by the time he got on stage!
It was the first time I saw Inner City Unit and I thought they were excellent. There was barbed wire all over
the stage and they were all done up in combat gear and bloody bandages, with the exception of Trev Thoms
who was only wearing swimming trunks and had writing all over his skin wrongly identifying the various
parts of his body. They played really well, but most of the audience only became interested when Lemmy
got on stage with them. I remember Nik explaining that 'Solitary Ashtray' was about Astrid Proll from The
Red Army Faction (German terrorists), which impressed me at the time.
After ICU, Hawkind were fairly disappointing, with the exception of the ever excellent Tim Blake's bit. The
set was very similar to the one they had toured in 1979 but felt more lacklustre, although that might just
have been because I was overly familiar with it. Also, I never liked Huw Lloyd-Langton's meanderings on
guitar, so I may have been slightly biased. I do remember getting into a shouting match afterwards when I
said that I thought ICU had blown them off the stage...
didn't cotton on to what it was until she sang the first line of Silver
Machine, at which point massed cries of "F*** OFF!" and the like
went up and a horde of cans etc flew towards the stage. I think they
managed another couple of lines before the male vocalist was hit and
they decided to leave the stage pronto.
It was apparent at the end of the encore that all was not right with
Simon, he didn't look happy to me and it wasn't any surprise when I
found out later that he'd gone. Bad news, best drummer HW ever had
in my opinion, shame he's given it all up.