|Nik Turner's Hawklords, Oxford O2 Academy 20th October 2011
Thanks to Andrew Greenwood for this gig review and accompanying photos
This is what Hawkwind is supposed to be like. Seven people rocking away on stage like RagnarÃ¶k. No
one using a laptop. Plenty of Harvey's noodling noises. Musicians grinning and having a laugh, sometimes
looking at Harvey asking what the Hell that sound is. More rocking; Jerry's guitar ringing like a bell, his
fingers blasting out the riffs without seeming to touch the strings. Alternating bass players. Steve
Swindells looking like a double glazing rep. Nik looking like Nik, but older, politely announcing each song
after it finished as though we wouldn't know ("That song was called Psi Power, Psi Powerâ€�). More
I don't know how many there were in the crowd, but I was surprised to find out that we were in the
smaller upstairs room at the O2, then when we got in it was pretty empty. We had no trouble walking to
the front as there wasn't anyone there.
We caught the last thirty seconds of the support band who seemed good and made us feel slightly guilty
about arriving late. Then they moved their gear off and the Hawklords roadied their own gear on.
Hawklords Set List 20th October 2011 Oxford
1. Aerospaceage Inferno
2. Digital Age
3. You Shouldn't Do That / Addicted to You
4. Only the Dead Dreams (of a Cold War Kid)
5. Shot Down in the Night
7. Children of the Sun
8. Spirit of the Age
9. Flying Doctor
11. PSI Power
13. Quark Strangeness and Charm
14. Master of the Universe
15. 25 Years
17. (No Time as hit 23:00) Ejection or Silver
Before one of these songs, Ron narrated Reptoid
Vision. I can't remember which one.
Below, Adrian Shaw with his short scale Gibson
EB0 bass that he actually played in Hawkwind
Five minutes early they came on stage, Nik, Harvey, Jerry, Alan, Steve and Jack (probably) and launched
into a pounding Aerospaceage Inferno. About 30 seconds late, Ron came on in a ridiculous (fashionable)
spiked helmet covered in blackbird wings and feathers and a head. I suppose it could have been a crow.
Anyway, despite having all the lyrics on a music stand in front of him (which he kept dropping
accidentally or knocking over in an endearing manner) he sounded pretty like Bob. This was the first time
I had seen him live and I wished I had seen more of him when he was with Hawkwind. He is an excellent
front man. Jerry referred to him as tonight's Number One Singer which made him grin like a fool. â
€œHear that, number one singer. Just for tonight though". He took the hat off after the first song and
didn't put it back on until Master of the Universe (if I recall correctly).
There was no clicked drum countdown into the songs. They just looked at each other and BAM ripped
into the songs. They were playing them at least 25% faster than the originally recorded versions which
worked brilliantly, but they still ran out of time to fit the planned encore in. here were some initial
problems with vocal and monitor levels but they were sorted out after a few songs. We were directly
opposite Jerry's Line 6 Pod and Marshall amp which meant we got a really good guitar sound. He is a
fantastic guitarist, I can't believe I haven't seen him before. I really did miss a big swathe of Hawkwind
After Addicted To You, Alan went off and Adrian came on. They swapped back and forth and I thought
that Adrian was doing the original Hawklords stuff and Alan the other songs, but when I look on wiki Alan
was really only in Hawkwind for Quark where he overdubbed the bass parts and then played on some of
PXR5. I am not sure if he was there for 25 years, but it doesn't really matter.
Then we had Steve singing Shot Down in the Night and it was just like Live '79 but better because I was
there. Ron did quirky, twitchy dancing when he wasn't singing, and did more grinning. After Robot they
did Children of the Sun which I TOTALLY failed to recognise despite it being on one of the albums I play
the most! Jerry switched to acoustic guitar for this (as he did for Psi Power).
Anyway, after this, the solid bludgeoning continued until Dreamworker, one of Harvey's songs, that really
didn't seem to work. I am not sure if it was the sound or the fact that it was much slower than the
amphetamine charge of the previous four songs, but I didn't really like it. Sorry Harvey.
On into Quark, Ron doing the "here it goes, it goes Quark Quark" (or similar) asides perfectly, then on into
Master of the universe. Nik sang this and he may have had his flute out. He played the flute on a couple of
songs but I can't remember which ones. Then 25 years and Brainstorm, with Nik teasing us between
songs, asking us if we wanted more and which songs they should play (knowing full well that people
would call for songs on the set list eventually) or being Rolf Harris and asking if we could "tell what it is
yet" or guessing what the next song would be.
Then it was all over. A very nice security guy passed me the extra set list that had been put on the floor
between Jerry and Ron about half way through, I went to the back and bought the Herne Bay CD even
though I had deliberately planned not to, and we were back out into the night. It was a fantastic show and
I will see them again like a shot. At first I thought maybe Hawkwind should be a bit rockier like that now
and again, but they are a different band, and writing new songs still (albeit less frequently these days) so I
suppose it just gives me twice the band to see and I should be happy with that.
So, onward flies the Hawk, whichever one it is.