|Melkweg, Amsterdam - 17/08/03
Filip Hawknut also attended the gig - and took these pictures:
Alan Linsley reports:
Above: the venue, in Amsterdam. 'Melkweg' tranlsates to 'Milky Way' in English
|These two reports were first published on the BOC-L/Hawkwind email list, and are reproduced here by
the kind permission of the authors, Alan Linsley and Filip Hawknut
stage and lightshow
pics taken by and
seen here by kind
Well, I had a swell time seeing Hawkwind in Amsterdam...this was it!! Imagine "The Business Trip Live"
with the wah wah-distortion of "Space Ritual" guitar on top. It really was a blinder, well worth the trip.
I got to Amsterdam the day before (it's only 210 km from my home) and was enjoying a nice trip with
my wife. She went shopping for clothes, as I did for records - Hawkwind records! And that's a bummer
in Amsterdam. I've already searched some 10 times in Amsterdam for Hawkwind records and never any
luck. The problem is not with the Hawkwind titles that they do have - most record shops there simply
don't have *any* Hawkwind. The only ones that do are chains like Fame and Free Record Shop, and itâ
€™s typically limited to an extensive selection of mid-priced "Yuri Gagarin" -type records.
Anyway, after shopping we went out for dinner and yes, it's as bad as in the UK and USA. (What is it
with you people - ever heard of sophisticated food?! Although I'm in no position to criticise: my father
was a Michelin-star cook, as you can see by my stomach - and it's been 15 kilos since I smoked my last
cigarette!) Well, none of this has anything to do with Hawkwind, I suppose...¦
At 8pm we set off to the Bulldog to meet some Hawkfriends and went straight inside to encounter a
Disco-night ?!@!*?! Drank a margarita (nice one) and went outside to look for some Hawkwind t-
shirts, luckily we found some, and had a really nice chat with, well, everyone. I can get quite sociable
when on the alcocholic stuff (and yes Alan, I DO have 246 copies of "Silver Machine" but mostly on
compilation albums, cd's, etc.. :-) I must mention Alisa from Russia (Moskow) who was there for her
first ever Hawkwind concert! This brought back memories of my first one: Reading 75 (the last one with
Stacia) when I was only 16 years old...¦ (now everybody's frantically counting how old I am..)
Countdown: Sunday: Hawkday
Went for a long walk in the morning to clear my head and then went to a really nice Italian to get a meal.
Although not on the menu, we had a really nice carpaggio and escalope, much better food than the day
before. (Tip for travellers: when going Italian, say how much money you want to spend and let them do
the talking and picking - you'll get food they serve to their mum, and their mum is the queen of their foodâ
After eating went to my hotel to have a rest, but crossing the Leidsplein, we just really bumped into
Richard Chadwick and company, wacko! Richard says hi to me and I was just baffled as it had been 5
years since we actually met (I've been to a lot of Hawkwind concerts in the UK, but have never been
backstage) As we were talking, Alan Davey touched me on the shoulder and then I knew "this is going to
be awesome". We talked for a little while, but then they wanted to have a coffee in a coffee-shop (hm-
hm) and we went to our hotel (only 150 meters from the Melkweg and Leidseplein) to have that rest -
although I was pretty keyed up by that time!
Alan had told me to come over for the soundcheck at 5-6 pm. Well, we went over there at 5pm, to see a
lot of other people were trying to get in,and the management wouldn't admit anyone. These things
happen...¦I'm not actually someone who wants to go backstage all the time. I had a invitation from Dave
at Canterbury and never used it, I was enjoying myself way too much at the time and realised only
afterwards "Oh my god, I haven't paid my respects to Dave"! Anyway, we went in with everybody (I
must also point out that I always buy a ticket, so I can frame the ticket stub afterwards!)
Then it was off to the merchandise stand, handing over some 80 euros (=Â£55!!!!) to Colin. This was
fun, as everyone knew me by name (Filip Hawknut) but they (Kris and Colin) didn't know what I look
like. In the 90's, when Hawkwind did a lot of European tours, Colin was not yet involved in the bandâ
€™s management (although didn't there used to be a tour manager with a black moustache and curly hair
also called Colin?) and Kris I've only seen once or twice before. She actually thought I looked like Trevor
Hughes, which made me laugh...¦
If you want to know what I look like (but you don't really), I was the guy who helped Kris Tait on the
merchandise stand after the gig. Also, many thanks to the Dutch guys who nicked the Hawkfest 2002
CD, they told me they paid Kris and she couldn't remember. I'm sure they didn't pay me - that's a real
bummer guys, as the band has to pay themselves for the records they sell. So way to go, you're really
lucky I was in high spirits. I know you: don't show up at the next Hawkconcert, I will get you personally
without anyone knowing, and I mean it!!! You're certainly not real Hawkfans.
On a happier note, after helping Kris, I went in search of the Hawklord himself and didn't have to look far.
As I went halfway into the venue, he was waving to me (actually I didn't know I was so well known) and
we both sat on a flightcase and had a nice talk. Then we went backstage (upstairs) and had a long chat
and signing session, really closing down the venue after the third request from the Melkweg management
to leave. I don't remember when we did get out, but the Bulldog was already closed.
This was a real highlight among Hawkwind concerts. My wife (who bears with me, mea culpa) thought
it was great, and that means something; when I want to put on some music,she always says "No
Hawkwind", but that probably has to do with the fact I always put Hawkwind on.
I already described the overall sound of the gig, right at the beginning, but I still want to mention Keith
Barton on guitar. Way, way better than Jerry (-who isn't? I haven't said this, haven't said this, I'm
ducking, but I mean it!) Keith's the guitar player from Mr.Dibs' band, Spacehead, and he's really really
good. He doesn't look like a member of Hawkwind (short hair, etc.), but hey, I don't look like a Hawknut
either - do I?! Keith and I had a few laughs - keep up the good work and the wah wah!
Again thanks to Dave, Kris, Richard, Alan, Keith, Colin, the roadcrew (never forget them), and all the fans
at the Bulldog. This is what keeps me going!
In case you can't be bothered to read all this waffle, what it boils down to is - HW played an absolute
blinder of a gig last night.
For me the evening's entertainment began with a few of us trying and failing to get in to the soundcheck.
From outside we could hear a very strong run through of The Right Stuff, which just whetted my
appetite for the gig. However, the word on the street was that neither Simon or Arthur were with them,
so Keith Barton would be filling in on guitar again. A HW gig without Simon House? A worrying
prospect, especially given how far I'd travelled to see this one. Would it come up to scratch without that
violin sound? This was definitely a situation that needed some thoughtful preparation. So we went to the
The meet at The Bulldog went well, so it's a big "Hi" to all the various people I sat and drank over-priced
Heineken with over the 2 evenings that we congregated there - Filip "I have 246 versions of Silver
Machine" Vanhuyse and his long-suffering wife, Alisa, Tommy and his other half, Rob Dreamworker
(you again), Mango Steve, Michael Blackman and (let's not forget the sizeable German contingent that
included...) Andreas, Rainer & Christos. A few hours of chatting about HW, watching the Amsterdam
nightlife and eagerly anticipating take-off ;-)
The Melkweg doors opened about 9pm, and we all had to pay an extra e2.50 "membership" fee before we
could get in. The place soon filled out nicely (it's only a small club), there was no support, and the band
hit the stage around 9:35/9:40.
Line-up was Dave, Alan and Richard, with Keith Barton on guitar (he played throughout, not just here and
there). Dibs did the vocals on Abducted as he did at Hawkfest. Set list was (I *think*) -
Arrival In Utopia
Master Of The Universe
The Right Stuff
Green Finned Demon
Assault & Battery
The Golden Void
Where Are They Now?
Assassins Of Allah
And it was stunning, or at least it was from where I was standing (right in front of Brock's gear!). The
sound was very good, made me realise just how much difference a decent pa makes. One woman sat on
the stage next to the right hand speaker-stack for the entire gig, must have been bliss. The band played
the tightest, heaviest, dirtiest HW set I think I've ever heard. There was just no stopping them, they just
belted out one rocker after another, very intense, totally absorbing, a brutal sonic assault. There was
some faffing around before G F Demon but it didn't seem to matter - by the time they got to The Right
Stuff I was already convinced I'd never heard them play better, but then maybe that was just the, er,
"Amsterdam factor". I didn't think they would carry Where... without the violin but it worked fine.
Assassins was the encore, and with all the hollering that followed they could easily have come back and
done another (I felt sure they would come back on to do Silver Machine but it didn't happen). It was just
after 11pm by then so maybe there was a curfew.
Now we all know that HW these days is *really* just Dave, Alan & Richard, plus whoever else they can
drag along, but it was still astounding to see just how good those 3 chaps are when they really want to
be. Having said that, a big round of applause goes to Keith Barton for adding some very nice sounds
throughout. I'm reminded of the "trio years" a decade or so ago when I always felt they needed another
musician to help fill out the sound, and then Jerry Richards stepped in at Pentrich 1995 for just a couple
of numbers and I thought "that's it!". Well Keith B is kind of doing the same job only much better in my
view. "Icing on the cake" is a cliche but an apt one here. This really does blow the whole line-up issue
wide open - how do YOU want your Hawkwind power-trio topped off in future? House? Barton? Capt
Black? Arthur? Harvey??! ...the debate starts here. Let's face it, they can't afford to drag 'em ALL along
Not much of a track-by-track review but there ya go. This was a very special HW gig for me. It was
unique, a real one-off under-pressure occasion that went incredibly well. Completely different to
Hawkfest only a week before - how many bands could pull off both? Thanks to the band and the crew
for going ahead with this date even though the Cornberg Fest was cancelled, nice one folks. Roll on that