|Another pairing of two shortish press articles - these are from the US and Canada and the now halcyon
far-off days of 1990. Publication names unknown, I'm afraid
Hawkwind - December 13: Mercury Café
This night saw the newly opened Mercury Café at
2199 California hosting England's legendary
Hawkwind, the unsung heroes of heavy psychedelia.
In the early days of its twenty-five year history, the
band had a reputation for playing anywhere. The
relatively small show at the Mercury seemed to
harken back to those early days, especially when you
consider that the band can draw 20,000 fans at gigs
in Europe nowadays. So for the couple of hundred
diehard Hawkwind fans who were lucky enough to
find out about this poorly publicized show, the gig
was an ecstatic dream come true. There wasn't a
person I talked to that night who wasn't completely
awed by the fact that they were actually seeing the
band live. One guy told me it was the happiest day
of his life.
Hawkwind's current line-up features founder
member Dave Brock on guitar, vocals and synth,
with Harvey Bainbridge on synth and vocal, Alan
Davey on bass and vocals, a great new drummer
named Richard, who signed his autograph as â
€œRichard, new drum", and a girl named Bridgett
(who recently joined the group) performing
costumed dance and vocals. In its long history
Hawkwind has sported members such as famous sci-
fi author Michael Moorcock, former Cream
drummer Ginger Baker, and Motorhead's Lemmy,
who the band is going to hook up with in L.A. for
their December 15th Club Lingerie show. Absent
from this tour is guitarist Huw Lloyd Langton who
has formed a new group.
Hawkwind is truly amazing live. Sober and relaxed
on stage, their years of experience were evident.
The band is incomprehensibly tight. They ripped
through some great stuff from the new album Space
Bandits, as well as classics such as 'The Golden
Void' from Warrior On The Edge Of Time (1975),
'Angels Of Death' from Sonic Attack (1981),
'Hassan-i-Sahba' from Quark Strangeness and Charm
(1977), and much to my surprise, sung 'Ejection'
from the rare 1974 British comic film soundtrack
Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters, written by
former member Robert Calvert.
The band's pounding, heavy grooves are topped by
impeccable English vocal harmonies from the poetic
classic rock tradition, and are complemented by
moving slides, projected onto the band throughout
the show. This, combined with the freaky
fluorescent painting on their equipment, makes for a
trippy treat, especially when I noticed several of the
inside photos from Space Ritual Live (possibly the
coolest album cover in existence) among the slides.
Bridgett appeared occasionally in a variety of bizarre
costumes. The show opened with her in a fireproof
suit flagging imaginary landing aircraft as a Morticia
Addams-type character, then in a white jumpsuit
sporting an elongated bug-eyed gaping-mouthed
rubber mask. This was removed to reveal her as bald and goggle-clad. During the next tune Harvey
applied a Vulcan mind grip to her skull. As she screamed he issued a tirade about the effects of
television. By the end of this song, Bridgett transformed into a regular human, singing "Feed the brain,
feed the brain." Still later she appeared as a metal monster from a welder's nightmare.
The crowd totally dug the show and managed to get a single encore before the band began tearing down
equipment. (Yes, the actual band members doubled as roadies!) They were in a hurry to beat the coming
Rocky Mountain snowstorm and get to their L.A. gig, but were not above signing autographs and talking
with their fans (your trusty reviewer among them).
Chances are there's a handful of Denverites preparing to end their lives after missing tonight's
performance, but followers of the Hawklords can take heart, as it is likely they'll return to Denver in
March. Be sure to appear and show your support, then maybe they can afford a bigger road crew.