|1990 U.S. Tour Review
This is from the American 'Kadu Flyer' newsletter, published for many years by Chris and
Mary Bruce at no small expense to themselves. I believe they wrote this piece...
Boston was a good place to play for the band's
first show of the tour; most of the crowd are
from the area and it was a warm welcome for
the band. Architectural Metaphor opened the
show with some deep space jams and their
version of "Sonic Attack" to get the crowd into
orbit before Spaceship Hawkwind took them to
the stars. The set for the show was Realms,
Angels of Death, Golden Void, Ejection, Wings,
Out of the Shadows, Snake Dance, Night of the
Hawks, TV Suicide, Back in the Box, Assassins
of Allah and Images. The encore was Reefer
The set lists for the tour were basically the same,
with the occasional addition of "Brainstorm" out
of the end jam in "Ejection", or the substitution of
"Needle Gun" for "Angels...", and a piece sung
by Bridget of unknown title (the refrain "your
secret's safe with me") on some nights during
the reggae-ish jams they get into in some songs.
The Ambler was a tiny hole in suburban
Philadelphia, not a proper place for HW really,
but they made the best of it, although Ian, their
their drum roadie, spent the show crammed
into an impossibly small place behind the stage and it took him a day to unfold himself back into shape!
The Wetlands was a load of fun and a nice place to see a show; as the name may imply, it's an
environmentally conscious nightclub, sort of a New Age community center. There is a lounge
downstairs that's usually packed with people, with pillows and pipes, stretched out on the floor digging
the music piped in from upstairs and partying in general; black lights and psychedelic art, veggie bar
food, and the best sound system in DC make it worth going to the club anytime, Hawkwind or no.
Again the crowd was treated to Architectural Metaphor, or ArcMet in this case, who played minus a
member or two. "Sonic Attack" was included, but the high point for those unfamiliar with ArcMet was
a cover of "Ricochet" by Tangerine Dream. "We've Come For Your Children", from their album
Oddyssiam Galactae was another winner. The Hawks were entertained by the folks of High Times
magazine before the show, so look for an interview in their pages by Spring.
Washington and Toronto were the only two clubs that HW played in both '89 and '90, the 9:30 Club and
the Diamond. Cleveland's Empire was by all accounts the best venue, the best crowd (runners up:
Denver, LA, and S.F.), and the best performance. Two nights of paradise. The band jammed on "You
Know You're Only Dreaming" and "Master of the Universe" among other bits during the extended
soundchecks before the doors were opened each night. The Captain bought a new guitar, an Epiphone,
in a local shop. The support acts were very good, more on them later...
The Great Lakes region has always been a stronghold for Hawkwind, and Chicago was no letdown.
Cubby Bear, across from Wrigley Field, was a big place and was without a doubt the loudest
Hawkwind show on the tour of 1990. The Hawks played a solid set; a friend who had missed them in
'89 enjoyed them so much she went the next night to the Thirsty Whale, which was a good show but
the club was a dive and the PA a dinosaur.
Security at both Chicago shows was overly tight. There was one unpleasent incident that pitted an
overly enthusiastic fan against an equally overzealous bouncer that landed the poor soul in the hospital.
Hawkwind are not involved with the security people at the venues, but they usually have a very mellow
crowd and they were quite disturbed at the time that it happened. The band and crew were hassled in
the buses by police at four in the morning at Cubby's, so the pressure was on everyone at that show...
Shank Hall in Milwaukee was the Alan Davey
Show, with Harvey and Dave supplying the jokes
at Al's expense! A great show with a lot of
interplay. The club's logo is a triglyph from
Stonehenge (this is where Spinal Tap filmed the
midget Stonehenge sequence) and the humor
was not lost on the band...
Glam Slam in Minneapolis was a great place to
play for Hawkwind. Built by Prince as his
personal nightclub, it has state-of-the-art-
everything! A mind-blowing light show to
supplement the band's, a crystalline sound
system, and all the amenities to make the band
and audience comfortable. Exploding Head Trick
supported the bill; any band that does a Henry
Cow tune for sound check is ok in my book!
On to Denver, and one of the friendliest bunch of
people it has ever been our pleasure to meet;.
The Dead were in town as well, so there was a
festival atmosphere (in more ways than one!),
and Mme. Quantum and the light crew took
Richard to see the PAISLEY sights of a Grateful
Dead parking lot party. He was duly impressed...
|Richard and Alan relaxing in one of the plush
dressing rooms laid on for the band on this tour
Lemmy was spotted at the bar in L.A. at the Club Lingerie, as was Mick Farren, a longtime friend of
Dave's. Ian Astbury was on the guest list. There was a film crew there as well, cutting for a promo;
more details to follow in the months ahead...
The Bay Area shows were, in this writer's opinion, the best of the tour. The band seemed more relaxed
than in Cleveland, and they stretched out more, though without as hard an edge. The band spent most
of the day shopping and sightseeing in San Francisco. The crew expanded to take on Doug Buckley,
who rode to Portland, and Jeff Carney, who pitched in at the Bay shows. Doug, for all our new
readers, wrote the lyrics to "Out of the Shadows", Jeff is an electronic music composer / performer
who lives in Oakland.
On the road to Portland, we encountered the worst Arctic storm since 1947. The crew bus slid off the
highway and had to wait for the Highway Patrol to get out the one snowplow they had to extricate the
bus. As a result, Hawkwind unloaded the truck and set up the stage themselves! The crowd was small
due to the weather, and there was no real PA in the club. To the band's credit it was a great show and a
chance to unwind. The next show in Vancouver was cancelled due to the ice storm.
Everyone was psyched for the sun in Long Beach; instead we got 22 degrees at noon. Oh well. Sound
checked "Master of the Universe" in full voice, and did the "Needle Gun" opener instead of "Angels...".
There was a good crowd on hand to say goodbye to the band at the end of the tour and were rewarded
with a fun show. Once again the cable TV crew was on hand. In a recent conversation Dave Brock
said he felt Cleveland was the best city on the tour. "Cleveland has always been a special place for
Hawkwind. We've always had good crowds there, since the shows in the seventies..." Last year's gig at
the Phantasy in Cleveland ranked high on the list from the '89 tour for Dave, "I bought a guitar last time
I was there, there's some good shops." Asked whether he had any words for American Hawkfans he
said "Thanks for coming out to see us, we had a lot of fun playing in America. We'd like to stay longer
next time, perhaps even move here for two years and do more touring. There's lots of places we'd like
to see". Looks like Dave might have his wish, at press time it looks like there will be another tour
starting on the 8th of May. As we get more info we'll pass it along; meanwhile if you or someone you
know is interested in booking Hawkwind you can contact the appropriate agents through the Kadu Flyer
at 617-547-9633. We are looking for rooms that hold 600 - 1200 people, preferably theaters and
colleges, that either have a high quality sound system or one provided by the promoter of the gig, with
enough power for the lights. All-ages shows are preferred as well, since many fans were bitterly
disappointed at not being able to see Hawkwind because they were playing in a bar and the fans were
not of age. This was especially a bad problem in Chicago at the Thirsty Whale, where one of the
support acts had, in violation of HW's contract, advertised that there would be two shows, one of them
all-ages, one not. Their advertising led fans to believe HW were to play two shows when actually the
support act was doing both shows, but Hawkwind were booked only for the late, over-21 show. Says
Dave "We really want to play for the younger audiences, like we do in England." He added that they will
make every effort possible to have all-ages shows.
Hawkwind is the ultimate cult band. This English group, since 1969, has rewarded their faithful with
dozens of albums, a motherlode of lore, and remain virtually unknown in America. In the early 70's
Hawkwind had their best chance to make it big over here. There was the landmark "Space Ritual" live
album, a series of tours, and a big bash at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.
At the Hayden, as the story goes, everyone showed up to meet the band after their first big New York
show. With only the star projections on the ceiling to see by, however, it was some time before they all
realized that Hawkwind was off somewhere else. Since then it seems that despite continued success in
Europe, the band has had a hard time getting many of us to come back. 'America' appears never to
have 'gotten' the Hawkwind message.
Thus it was virtually unnoticed amidst the reunion / anniversary tour laden year of 1989 that these
inveterate space rockers from England celebrated their 20th anniversary with a guerrilla-style tour of the
United States. It was a homecoming of sorts as the band had not toured here since 1978, a tour which
ended with leader Dave Brock selling his guitar to a fan at the final gig out of frustration with the band's
Time heals all, it's said, and Hawkwind is poised to follow up last year's successful tour with a two
month long odyssey set to begin this December. Why should we care? In a nutshell because from the
moment of its inception the band has been ahead of its time, and the home-grown over the top
psychedelia they deliver is just about perfect for the times we live in.
Way ahead you say? Prove it. Hawkwind shows were multimedia events before the yuppie who
coined the phrase was into puberty. Stacia, the band's one-time dancer, created the painted face
character that Gene Simmons of Kiss must have stolen. Hawkwind members were once arrested for
distributing condoms in public while performing on the streets of London.
With the advent of hypermedia in home entertainment, heavy metal bands like Kiss now big business,
and 'safe sex' still a buzz-phrase, this is visionary stuff indeed.
Coalescing originally in 1969, Hawkwind was around for the heyday of the original psychedelic era of
London. The only member from those days still in the band is Dave Brock - the only member, in fact,
to be involved with each and every phase of the band. Yet this is nothing like the story of "the English
band playing its hits with an original member or two and a group of stand ins" that we have come to
know and loathe.
Keyboard player Harvey Bainbridge, bassist Alan Davey, drummer Richard Chadwick, and new member
vocalist Bridgett Wishart are all integral members of the band and this tour is supporting an honest to
goodness new release called "Space Bandits" on Roadracer Records.
The "Space Bandits" album is the strongest in years, and seems to mark the opening of yet another
chapter in the band's long history. It is more commercially conscious (a matter of degrees perhaps
with this band) while still showcasing traditional Hawkwind values. There are cascading heavy metal
screamers, patented electronic techno-space jams, a transcendent piece featuring native American
mystagogy, and an ecology-minded tune from which a percentage of royalties is donated to a UK group.
Hawkwind on stage today hearkens back musically to the heady days of its early 70's nadir (I think he
means zenith) and the epic "Space Ritual". Without then frontpersons Bob Calvert, Mik Turner, and
Stacia as well as bassist Lemmy (yes, of Motorhead) the present day show is less frenetic, more
electronic, and still features the snaking tribal undercurrent which has long been a trademark.
Just because this band has been around since 1969 and you still don't know much about them, or just
because they aren't on MTV every day doesn't mean they don't deserve your attention. Their music has
always been laced with a healthy dose of forward thinking. That, along with an irresistible primal
groove makes their music ideal for our future-now society.
Once again Hawkwind is sending out invitations to their party. This time they promise to be there.
On with the tour review:
|First up, though, is a piece from a Kadu Flyer-related publication, a fanzine called West Wind