Space Melt DVD reviews
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DVD's menu.  There are also a few still shots of the striking interior of the Steelworks, which is otherwise
not really seen in the DVD.  Nor is the numbing cold apparent, except in the woolly-hatted attire of the
band.  The fact that you could see your every breath suggested the visuals were going to be shrouded in
what would look like layer upon layer of dry ice, but it isn't that way on the DVD.

The Right Stuff opens with a new chord progression and a rather subdued sound, which continues
throughout the DVD.  Visually the DVD is great, showing off the stage lighting and backdrops, with lots of
close-ups of the individual band members.  As well as the sound levels being a bit on the low side (much
quieter than on the "Play Space Melt" DVD menu), the mix is surprisingly dominated by the keyboards.  
Overall it lacks heaviness, but gains in clarity what the band's muddier live sound sometimes lacks.  The
Right Stuff shows off some jazzy organ from Jason, and he does some sweeping chords in the middle
section that are reminiscent of New Order.  Maybe this is done over the same chords as the intro, and they
are definitely reused for the outro, and Alan Davey's thrumming bass parts take over from the keyboards as
the dominant sound, which continue on to Psychedelic Warlords.  In fact the main part of the DVD, from
here onwards, is dominated by Alan Davey because it features his songs or songs that were probably only in
the set at his insistence, or because nobody else can do them justice on the bass.  With him not being in the
ranks any more, Hawkwind have gone through another one of those periodic transformations that they
have, with a different feel to the band now that Mr.Dibs is the bass player.  But the DVD is more of a
window onto a closed chapter on account of the Alan Davey factor.

There is still some more jazz organ from Jason Stuart, and in the middle of Psychedelic Warlords Dave
Brock has to twiddle a few knobs to push out some traditional Hawkwind synthesizing sounds.  He does not
quite hide behind a bedspread like he used to (his keyboard is strung with actinic blue fairy lights) but there
are signs he is going back to multitasking instead of just playing guitar.  And singing of course, as on the
karaoke version of Orgone Accumulator they play.  (If Dogstar did get an outing between Orgone
Accumulator and Psychedelic Warlords, I missed it.)  The middle section is good, it is none other than You
Know You're Only Dreaming from In Search Of Space.  Then there is an inaudible stage announcement
after this and before the beginning of Paradox.  In fact just about every bit of patter delivered by the Captain
is rendered impossible to understand by the heavy echo on his microphone, though it strangely does not
obscure the lyrics when he is singing.  On Paradox there are some willowy backing vocals from Richard
Chadwick, and some closeups of him too.  Maybe the best thing in the song though is the long guitar solo
(first of two) that comes in after the initial verse.  During this there are some audience shots of the robots,
aliens & androids in the front row.  Not as much is made of this as might be expected, and when Richard
bellows something about clearing space in the centre of the room for the robots (at the beginning of "Robot"
of course), it isn't anything to do with the audience, but instead announces the arrival of costumed dancers
Stripey and Snail.  As they didn't appear on the most recent
[December 2007] tour, some other dancers
being featured instead, them turning up on this DVD is another reminder that it's a revisitation of the recent
past.

Going back to "Robot", Richard does a long voiceover in the middle of the song, reciting Isaac Asimov's
Three Laws Of Robotics in histrionic tones that completely misread the ethos of the theme.  Robert
Calvert's icy denunciations came closer to being dispassionate and so fitted better.

Out Here We Are was one of Alan Davey's tours de force and a highlight of the Take Me To Your Leader
CD, but it seems to be done almost completely on computer-based backing tracks here, and sounds not so
very different live than it did on the album.  Now that Alan's gone it probably won't make any more
appearances in Hawkwind sets.  But we might also be spared the sight of Jollyhawker grooving away to it,
as see here, with the footage taking a rare look at the crowd!  The Alan Davey show continues with
Greenback Massacre, which struggles a little bit to reproduce the complicated timing of the studio version: it
sounds slightly simplified here
[from 9/8 to 5/4?] As it's one of the most direct rock-oriented numbers in the
setlist, the staging design lets the music take the spotlight, with stage lighting being subdued and no dancers
present.  It's basically the band pounding this one out with a good backdrop from Chaos Illumination,
alternating angular geometries with dollar bills, multiplying like bacteria under a microscope.

The next song is another Alan Davey synthesizer piece called Marine Snow and has the dancers out doing
incomprehensible things with glacial deliberation.  Doesn't last too long before Lord Of Light blasts off.  
Alan should probably get the credit for the resurrection of this gem and it gets a rendition as close to the
blanga of Space Ritual 1972 as can probably be got from the more musically inclined Hawkwind of the 21st
century.

The spotlight passes to Richard with his high-pitched vocals making "Images" a viable option in the set,
even if the close-ups suggest he is having to read from a lyric sheet.  For some reason the middle section
features the dancers done up as beetles or moths, who crawl incomprehensibly around the front of the stage
for a few minutes before normal service is resumed.  Infinity is a quieter interlude in the set, performed in
front of a stars-and-Stonehenge backdrop which keeps with the overall blue tinge of the stage lighting and
lightshow.  So when Assassins Of Allah bursts onto the screen with a Rastafarian colour scheme of red,
yellow and green back projections, it is momentarily startling.  It ends with a marijuana leaf projection too,
but that's the extent of the Caribbean influences: no space reggae midsection, just a rave interlude with the
male dancer waving a stick around.

Spirit Of The Age: Dave mumbles something about chocolate biscuits in the build-up, which is long and
slow in the manner of the 2005 re-recording of the old classic.  Given that this is a medium-paced
interpretation it offers plenty of scope for Stripey and Snail to come back out and do their peculiar
interpretative writhings which then cuts to some footage of the fans (including a soulful-looking John W.
Pattison!) who are all wreathed in smiles despite the cold.

The DVD finishes with Alan Davey once again taking centre stage to sing Motorhead (another one not likely
feature in Hawkwind set lists any more...)  Musically probably this harks back to the original version with
the Simon House violin solo.  The keyboards are highest in the mix and that gives it a different feel, rather
like the rest of this DVD really.  And that is the last thing on it and it's back to the "Play Space Melt" menu.  
I think I will...
As this DVD title is temporarily unavailable I have been
sitting on the first of these reviews for weeks.  
Receiving the second one made me decide to go ahead
with this page...  First up is Lurch whose review I have
hopefully not edited out of all recognition.  The
occasional interjection from me is in the cyan text.

Filmed at the Magna Steel Foundry near Rotherham on
18th December 2006, this DVD commemorates an event
that was put on by the band for Hawkwind Passport
Holders exclusively.  The cost of the ticket included a
copy of the DVD, and ensured that each Passport
Holder's name (or chosen alias) would appear on the
packaging - which has been done: it comes with a
four-page booklet which lists them all, along with the
track listing and credits.

In return, the fans were asked to "...dress as alien
foundry workers, androids or robots" as it says in the
booklet. Many did, and took part in a robotic parade
down a ramp or stairway (actually it was the front of
th
e stage), as seen in the opening title footage, after
selecting "Play Space Melt", the only choice on the
Here is the second review from the splendid Graham P, longtime contributor to this site.  Cheers!

This is virtually the last hurrah of the old power trio, augmented as ever in the last few years by Jason
Stuart, recorded live in December 2006. Privately issued after Voiceprint pulled out (and it seems like VP are
generally reluctant to issue new HW live product - what happened to Spaced Out in Holland?) and currently
unavailable due to (a) the unreasonable objections of Alan Davey or (b) the fact that Hawkwind have
neglected to go through due legal processes for issuing the release, you decide!  Whatever, I was lucky
enough to be able to buy this at the Astoria gig in December (07).

In truth there's little new on offer, with the only unfamiliar title being "Dogstar". There are some welcome
revivals though, notably "Images", "Infinity" and "Motorhead" and this is a good and thoroughly enjoyable
account of the 2006 set, with some of the TMTYL material still being played. The TMTYL dancers are there
too, albeit sparingly used.

With Dave Brock very much the rock'n'roll farmer in Barbour jacket and woolly hat, and only Richard not
wearing a woolly hat, there is the distinct impression that Magna in December was a freezing cold hangar
(probably correct, given Dave Brock's comments from the stage and the occasional shot of a band
member's breath). Although there is a full back projection, light levels seem to be low through much of the
set and some of the footage is rather grainy. We also see less of the audience than might be expected given
that everyone was asked to dress up but, there again, since Voiceprint pulled the plug on the finance, we
should be thankful that the band pulled out the stops and managed to deliver both a fine set and a
professional shoot in the face of adversity. Both sound and visuals are excellent. At least three cameras were
used, and there is enough cutting between different shots to keep the visuals interesting. The only annoyance
is that the whole concert is programmed as a single track on the DVD. The band members seem to generally
be enjoying themselves too, or at least Dave does. In fact Alan looks a bit glum and serious throughout. The
end credits list the band as Dave, Jason, Richard and Alan, in that order, an indication of the shift in power
structure perhaps!

"The Right Stuff" kicks things off, complete with the new slowed down middle section, and is followed by
"Psychedelic Warlords" (with a mid-section that appears to quote from "To Love A Machine"). The first
instrumental break is the new "Dogstar", followed by an excellent "Orgone Accumulator" (incorporating
"You Know You're Only Dreaming") and a fine "Paradadox". "Robot" isn't bad, better than the 2005
incarnation, and is accompanied a parade of silly costumes. "Out Here We Are" slows things down again
before a rousing "Greenback Massacre" and yet another slow one, "Marine Snow". "Lord Of Light" is
followed by "Images", with Richard taking lead vocals and doing a fair impression of Bridgett Wishart's
voice.  Jason's keyboards lead a gentle romp through "Infinity".

Then we have the obligatory renditions of "Assassins Of Allah / Space Is Their Palestine" and "Spirit Of The
Age", the latter with audience participation, the dancers onstage and Dave at his most eloquent and
expressive vocally. There is some good editing here too with numerous audience shots cut into the
performance. "Motorhead" wraps things up, Alan doing his best Lemmy impression.