|2004 Spring Tour reviews
FThanks to Dr. M, Mike, Rob, Graham, Tim, Tom, Phil, Hawklords of Shields, Alan, Phil, Bev, Colin, Kit
& John for their excellent contributions!
This image of the tour flyer is from Mission Control, Hawkwind's official website
Norwich Waterfront, 18/04/04:
Anyway, saw Hawkwind at the Waterfront last night...it has to be the smallest venue I've ever seen them in
(excepting the odd tent at a free festie!) and the sound could have been a bit better IMHO - same problem
as with Arthur Lee in Feb. - the vocal mikes don't seem to be turned up enough. I wish I could actually hear
what Rich was singing on Angela Android, but if I could vaguely at the Astoria, I couldn't at the Waterfront.
We walked in to find Huw halfway through his acoustic set (Rocky Paths & Hurry on Sundown to go)...he
did a weird bluesy (or bluesier) version of Hurry On Sundown with somewhat ad-libbed lyrics which I
don't think really improved the number...
It was pretty much the same set as at the Astoria, but tight to 90 mins as the venue closes earlier on a
Sunday (weird for a gig to finish at 10:15 pm!). Overall sound the same, not surprisingly, but without the
frills. My biggest gripe is that they keep insisting on putting really lacklustre instrumental breaks into Bob
Calvert's songs...pointless noodling that really breaks the song up. Most of it seemed to be on computer
anyway, while Alan seemed to be playing one-handed melody lines on the keyboard that seemed to consist
of about 4 notes repeated...I couldn't see what Dave was doing as about a dozen people were getting frisky
in a knot at the front (i.e. next to me, so I was having to fend 'em off and hope no-one jumped really heavily
on my toes!)...other than that I wouldn't say the performance was exactly perfunctory, but I've always
preferred the full stage sound of lots of instruments - I had hoped / expected more than a four piece...
shame no Simon House :-(
They certainly chugged through the setlist as posted, but then, time was tight. Not too much new stuff
except Angela Android... Interestingly, I've noticed the same effect with a lot of old bands these days - (eg
BOC) - they often play material from their heyday (making me suspect more modern stuff doesn't cut the
mustard!). They're still doing Wings, which doesn't impress, and Sword of the East - pure chugga chugga
Alan-orientated mid '80's Hawkwind - it's comparatively substandard being typical '80's/'90's HW.
I'm amused to note (now that I can get within 10 feet of the band) that Dave & Alan have flat screen
monitors for their computers and seem to have the atmospheric keyboards/synth and even a bit of synth (?)
sax running on what looked like CuBase. I was amused by Alan's keyboard technique - left hand firmly
holding the edge of the keyboard while playing about 4 white notes with his right! To be fair they actually
were fairly tight and Dave looked in a good mood -all smiles & no scowls- don't remember seeing Brocky
smiling so much (he even exchanged one of those stage laughs with Alan at one point) but then you never
could see him in the old days. It's funny, but I was mentally comparing them with the full-on in-your-face
multi-instrument rock band with lasers at the Hammersmith Odeon or somewhere - definitely quieter than of
old... And I was forced to conclude (which I have before, actually) that Chadwick is probably the fourth
best drummer they've had after Terry Ollis, Simon King & Ginger Baker. (Having said that, I was reminded
how competent Clive Deamer was on watching the ECT footage a while back, but I guess he didn't fit in
for other reasons!) We could have done with Keith Barton as well (I did warm to his quite low-key work at
the Astoria with the little bits of lead & e-bow guitar), considering Dave didn't play a note of lead guitar, just
kept it all together in his usual grunging way - except perhaps a bit of something that sounded like
backwards guitar, right at the end - I mean, he was too busy keeping everything chugging along! .
I was rather surprised at the number of really old genuine Hawkwind heads that Norwich fielded (but also
the number of shorthairs - not just the ones who'd lost theirs!) I met a couple of people round me who
claimed they'd been seeing them since '72 or '73. Enthusiastic too: there were at least 3 women around me,
one of whom was singing along to most of the old stuff, which was a bit unexpected too.
Merchandise - following lots of people's recommendations, I splashed out £14 on the Spaced Out in London
CD mainly because I missed that incarnation of Hawkwind, and they DO make a great Kingdom Come on
Time Captains (as I always thought it was called, rather than Captives, but I could well be wrong)... But for
that price you don't even get an inside print on the folded CD insert - they could have had a nice spacescape
or something in a gatefold sort of way!
The evening finished on a nice note in that as we were walking back to where I'd left my silver machine,
we bumped into Huw, who'd been sinking a few jars in the Ferry Boat pub down the road, so we stopped
for a chat. He said he'd only been told he was doing a support slot as opposed to playing with the band 2
weeks before the tour...and seemed a bit put out by that - maybe that's why he spent the gig in the pub!
Salisbury City Hall, 20/04/04
Photos by Rob Dreamworker...cheers Rob!...write-up to follow, hopefully :-)
Fans in the foyer... Above left: Alan, Nick and Marie
Above right: Holly, MikRik and Tommy
Below: stage shot from Salisbury. Alan is just about
Above: Marie on the T-shirt stall. The Spring Tour
T-shirts have a wholly new design. And they say
this is the "Spirit Of The Age" tour...
|Above: Salisbury backdrop
Here's a brief review of the Salisbury gig from Mike:
The memory is a bit sketchy - I blame it on Jane
Asher's cookies :-)
Quick couple of beers in the Ale and Cider Press
pub nearby... Catch up with Dreamworker, Nick,
Tommy and others in the foyer. The venue looked
quite heavy on security but actually turned out fine
in the auditorium itself. Checked out most of
Huwie's set - it was OK but didn't seem as focused
as before, no appearance later with the band either.
He quite often would stop mid-song and ask the
audience what key it was in etc.. Quite amusing I
guess but it would be nice to hear each song without the interruptions.
Anyway, Hawks hit the stage at about 9. Dave spends less time behind the bedspread cloaked keyboards
and comes up front more, delivering some great guitar. The back projections were great and related well to
most of the songs. The band cracked on through the set and seemed in very good spirits with quite a lot of
on-stage chat from the Captain. Various highlights for me - Psychedelic Warlords, with some great bass
playing, Assassins of Allah, sounding very rocky, Where Are They Now is a grower, Sword of the East
and Right Stuff....
The sound was excellent for the whole gig, with good use of mixing the sound from speaker to speaker on
some tracks. Good to see the band experimenting with new styles and sounds too, including more vocals
from Richard. OK, there were a couple of bits that did meander a bit off the plot but maybe that's just
managing the dynamics of the set, 'cos generally these bits would be followed with a stormer. The band
used technology well to enable them to create a very full and varied sound despite being just a 3 piece -
must be a nightmare trying to synchronise all those computers etc. on stage and remember when to press
the buttons etc.. So, another fab gig. Roll on Brighton...
Left: Green Machine Above: Out Of The Shadows
Moggie was at the Glasgow gig on 22/04/04 and also at Aberdeen on 23/04/04. Here's his verdict:
A quick word on the Hawkwind Gigs I saw:
Glasgow - well, it was a good gig musically, but due to the low ceiling (about 10ft), there was no light
show to speak of, and Hawkwind without a light show is just not right. Still, the crowd seemed to enjoy
it, and there was enough cannabis being smoked to use up a good part of the annual afghan harvest.
Speaking to one of the tech bods afterwards, it seems that they and the band hated it. The last venue in
Glasgow I saw Hawkwind at was the Garage - an altogether better venue (now sadly closed).
Aberdeen - a totally different prospect - superb light show and great music - the band obviously enjoying
themselves unlike the previous night. Hopefully they will come back to Aberdeen again - Iâ€™m sure it
was worth it. I met some guys I had not seen since 1978 at Aberdeen University after the gig - so that just
added to the feel-good factor of the evening. I remember a gig in 76 at the Capitol - a large old cinema
when they had Atomhenge and Mr Calvert and it was great.
Sticking with Aberdeen, the following excellent write up by Graham is good enough to merit a page of its
own...but it's here instead :-
Aberdeen Forum, 23/04/04:
It was worth the wait. Okay, it helps that I haven't had to drive 3 hours (Edinburgh) or fly to London to
see them this time. Yes, after a short delay of 19 years (last seen here on the Black Sword tour in 1985),
Hawkwind have finally returned to Aberdeen. Mind you, the venue hasn't gone out of its way to advertise
- or, to be more precise, they are advertising the following night's performance by the Jive Aces, just not
the fact that Hawkwind are playing! In fact, the only poster for Hawkwind to be seen is in the window of
One-Up record shop a few streets away. Nevertheless, around 9.00 pm a queue is starting to form outside
the Forum, although so far only about 20 people are in evidence. The guy behind me in the queue asks if
there are likely to be tickets available. It looks likely! He has seen Hawkwind once before, in Salisbury, in
2001 and the all-round psychedelic experience was enough to tempt him to check them out again. I don't
think he'll have been disappointed.
The venue is tiny, but the stage is set, clearly for a 3-piece this time round. The merchandise stall is selling
tee-shirts, the Walthamstow CD and a programme. How long is it since there's been a proper programme
for a Hawkwind tour? Things are looking up! As we sup our second pint, Huw Lloyd Langton takes the
stage. In theory, it's a shame that he isn't playing with the band. He plays "Wars Are A Hobby There",
"Wind Of Change" (his song, not the HW tune), the introduction to "5th Second Of Forever", Solitary
Mind Games", "Rocky Paths" and "Hurry On Sundown" (dedicated to Dave, although possibly with less
than fulsome affection). My companion from the queue thought Huw was good but this performance was
a bit low-key compared to the stunning acoustic set at the Astoria in December.
The crew, including Mr Dibs, wandered around the stage checking things, Richard sat down next to his
drum kit and The Darkness played on the PA system. Around 10.20, the main event finally kicked off, by
which time the venue was reasonably full. From the start the light show was spot on - intense swirling
colours, constantly changing. The set kicked off with the slightly underwhelming "Angela Android".
Richard on vocals, Dave and Alan operating the computers and synths. My companion thinks the sound is
amazing for a 3-piece - and so it is. I'd prefer real musicians filling the gaps in the sound and of course
having half the set on sequencer / computer drastically limits the scope for spontaneity but tonight's
performance was so good I'd forgive them anything, even "Angela Android".
Next up is an absolutely killer sequence of "Assault and Battery" / "Golden Void" / "Where Are They
Now". Dave and Alan share vocals except on the opening of "Golden Void", which Dave takes on his own
and shows he can still do this song justice. Simply awesome! An instrumental follows. At this point the
sequence of events gets a little hazy. They played "Sword Of The East", a pretty decent version;
afterwards Dave can't remember which album it comes from and Alan reminds him! Some taped
segments from Captain Lockheed lead us into a storming version of "The Right Stuff", finished off with
the closing section of "Paranoia". The band are obviously enjoying themselves and boy, are they hot. Even
"Wings" can't quite dissipate the momentum (although it tries hard). Dave tells us that we'll hear Bob
Calvert's voice later on. "Psychedelic Warlords" is pretty damn good and "Spirit Of The Age" is even
better. We also get a mainly instrumental piece with, sure enough, Bob Calvert's recitation of (I think)
"Ode to a Time Flower" semi-audible in the background. "Yes, we still remember him", says Dave. Finally,
a solid "Assassins of Allah / Space Is Their Palestine" finishes the main set and the band briefly disappear.
The encore is "Brainbox Pollution" and "Brainstorm". Brilliant. The band is really on form and the 3-piece
line up makes absolute sense. Just this once, I don't mind that Simon, Huw, Tim, Arthur or Harvey (or
even the Keiths or Jez Huggett) aren't on stage.
|I've heard this number with the Calvert vocals described as a dancey / synth piece with Bob's voice
possibly being treated and sounding like a Vocoder. It is him reciting Ode To A Time Flower (the only
previous known performance of this being at the Reading Festival on 22/8/1975 - though there is that
Centigrade 232 tape as well), and the piece is apparently called "Trip"
I have also seen several comments and remarks to the effect that Chaos Illumination have outdone
themselves with the lightshow on this tour. The Salisbury pics I have here certainly bear this out -well
done Neil and Marie!!!!!!
|The tour rolls on to Manchester and here are more photos, again courtesy of the estimable Rob
Dreamworker (cheers!) We begin with Exhibit A: the fans....
Above: Steve, Sue & Paul
Left: Nicky, Happy Bloke (Steve's mate) & Tommy
1st review, by Tim Bellfield:
Manchester Ritz, 25/04/04:
I will start with the support act Huw, who performed a short acoustic set as described in previous
reviews. I found it quite sad and Huw himself, although the guitar playing was good, appeared fed up and
going through the motions. I would love to know what internal politics have gone on and feel that he
should have played with the band or not at all.
Steve the bus driver and Mr.Dibs finesse something
Now to the main event. The band meandered
onstage and fiddled with their sequencers before
opening with Angela Android. If memory serves me
correctly they played this at the Hawkfest and it did
not impress. Eight months have passed and I am still
Then they kicked in with Assault & Battery/Golden
Void. Musically it was fine and the light show was
excellent but it was too quiet you could hear shouts
from the back to "turn it up"!! Next up were, Where
Are They Now and Out Here We Are, both fine
numbers followed by Sword Of The East which
was a bit disjointed. Then an adrenaline rush, The
Right Stuff was awesome with very tight playing
and amazing films on the backdrop.
Psychedelic Warlords has never been a particular
favourite of mine but the version tonight was very
ballsy and brought back memories of Lemmy's
power. A slump with Wings and then back on track
with Spirit Of The Age during which Alan
encouraged audience participation singing. Alan
appeared to be having a ball bantering with the front
rows between songs and really flowing with his
bass playing. The Bob Calvert poem included in Trip
had a sentimental touch but we could have done without it. Assassins. What a finish, it had everything
including a funny part when the instrumental middle section was finishing and Dave was not paying
attention because he was too busy knob twiddling, Alan had to give a few chords on his bass to wake him
up and the look on Dave's face was comical.
They left the stage and Mr Dibs had to encourage the crowd to shout a bit louder for an encore which
came in the shape of Brainbox Pollution and Brainstorm which was a cracker with the lightshow being
used to maximum effect.
To sum up, a good show. The band enjoyed it and did very well considering they were a 3-piece. Which
brings me back to Huw and his sorely missed lead guitar. Dave did few solos and the ones he played were
lost amongst the mix and disjointed. Having said that, his rhythm playing was excellent. Richard for once
seemed quieter than usual, maybe there were too many sequencers to play with.
And yes, I bought a T shirt!
More crew members hard at work here...Fleece on
the desk, above, with Colin to the right
Left: Neil chatting with Mick from Liverpool (who
looks like Ray from Mr.Quimby's Beard but isn't!)
2nd review, by Hawklord of Shields:
Well I have been going to these gigs now since 1970, Mardi Gras Club Liverpool being my first and the
1972 Space Ritual at Liverpool Stadium my second. I have seen many different line ups over the years.
Tonight I attended with my two sons Dave and Paul, who have their own Hawk-influenced band now,
The Black Widows, along with their bass player Steve. They started going to see Hawk gigs in 1995, for
Steve this is his first experience, though he went with us to see Nik Turner's Space Ritual last year.
We arrive at the Ritz at 6.45, to collect tickets. The band coach is parked right outside the venue, and
while waiting we see Alan, Huwie, and Mr Dibs, getting in and out of the coach. Inside there's a good
atmosphere. The Ritz boasts one of the few Northern Soul wooden dance floors in the country, very
springy, and as the crowd builds up you sense that the place will rock once the band gets going. It also is
one of the few venues which has bars either side of the dance floor, so everybody is in the room,
compared to a theatre where half the crowd stay outside in the bar until the gig starts.
Huw Lloyd Langton came on to the stage, and
started the evening with a great acoustic set,
including a brilliant Solitary Mind Games, 5th
Second Of Forever, Rocky Paths (a great acoustic
version, excellent vocals, and one the crowd really
took to), Wind Of Change, and finished with Hurry
On Sundown, which he dedicated to Dave, as he
pointed backstage, you know Mr D.B. Brock. The
crowd joined in with this one and gave him a great
cheer as he left the stage. His set opener was a song
I have heard him play before but I'm not sure of the
title. He starts it with something like "Oh spigitchie"
or similar sounding, again great guitar and vocals...
He stills looks frail, but is obviously improving. His
vocals were brilliant, the best I have heard him
singing for a long time, much better than the 2001
tour. It is such a pity he was not playing in the band
Mr Dibs checks everything on stage one last time, before Hawkwind take the stage, to a brilliant
backdrop, they start with Angela Android, Richard on vocals, for me not the best song to start with,
though they perform it well. This is followed by Assault and Battery/Golden Void and Where Are They
Now, great vocals from Dave, and Alan, along with some brilliant bass, Alan is also playing a synth, with
a flat screen monitor connected, which he has facing the front of the stage, which he returns to at the end
of each song to start the intro for the next. Dave is more visible, also coming out front to sing and play
guitar, and returning when not singing to a position behind his synths and keyboards. Next up is an
instrumental, sounds lile a new tune, followed by a good version of Sword Of The East, followed by a
storming The Right Stuff, which ends up as Paranoia. Then a nice version of Wings by Alan, with Dave
sat on a chair playing guitar. Next we had Psychedelic Warlords, again a good version, with power vocals
from Dave and Alan.
The next song was one of the night's best: Spirit Of The Age, sung brilliantly by Dave, and by now that
springy dance floor of The Ritz was bouncing, the crowd loved this one. Next up is Ode To a Time
Flower, a dance number with a tape of Robert Calvert doing his poem. This for me didn't work, as you
couldn't hear Calvert hardly, and these dance numbers, an obvious favourite of Richard's, are not my cup
of tea - we need less of them and more of the rest of the set, which continued with the last song of the
set Asssassins Of Allah, which was a lot more rocky than on previous tours. The band returned for an
encore of a fantastic version of Brainbox Pollution, Dave's, and Alan's vocals again being very dominant,
followed by Brainstorm (Dave asking the crowd if they wanted a fast one, or a slow one before thumping
out the opening chords) and what a brilliant version it was. That brought it all to an end, my son Dave,
just having time to buy a poster, they also had some nice T-shirts, and The Spaced Out In London CD on
sale, plus a programme, which looked nice very colourful, at a reasonable price £4.00, Ii was going to
buy one but didn't, wish I had now.
This was a good gig, we were all impressed, Steve was in raptures about the band, this was his first of
many Hawk gigs he said, as a bass player he was very impressed with Alan. Paul is a lead guitarist who is
heavily influenced by Huw Lloyd Langton, so he was a bit upset not to see him playing with the band,
although he said it was a great gig. My other son Dave is a drummer, main influences Ginger Baker and
Simon King, he rates Richard, but wishes he would bin those electric drums of his and says he wishes he
had been born years earlier so he could have seen Ginger Baker and Simon King Play in Hawkwind. He
has had the pleasure of seeing Terry Ollis a couple of times playing for Nik Turner's band, though, which
is some consolation.
Our overall conclusion was that this set had been rehearsed with Huw Lloyd Langton, who I believe was
only told he was not playing in the main band 2 weeks before the tour. With this choice of songs, it is
obvious that he would have fitted in well with this set and although the 3-piece were quite amazing, they
would have been on another planet had Huwie been up there playing with them. Dave Brock mentioned in
between songs that they would tour in the Autumn, and there would be dancers, let's hope we have Huw
Lloyd Langton as well.
-Hawklord of Shields
|Above: part of the lightshow at Manchester
Left: Mr.Davey doing a bit of pummeling
Here's something a bit different, still related to the Manchester gig, from Mick Daniel:
Hawkwind: An Open Post
Hawkwind in Manchester last night at the Ritz, were down to the core trio of Brock/Davey/Chadwick and
played an absolute blinder. This is not so much a review, but a sort of open letter. Why so many people
think that three people are not able to carry off a top-notch Hawk gig is beyond me. The set was tight,
concise and extremely well executed.
A couple of teething problems with the mix on the first number, you couldn't really hear Alan on Angela
Android - by the way, what's the problem with that song? I have a smile on my face and bob along every
time I've seen it played, it's a fun good time song, and presumably that's what everyone's there for, a good
time. I find it fascinating that so many fans find a song that is not in the "serious" sci-fi vein hard to
take. The mail groups are awash with criticism about the band and the tour at the moment - a ludicrous
debate appeared recently on the Yahoo! one about Matthew Wright appearing on the tour T-shirt.
My missus comes and watches Hawkwind and always enjoys it, but was browsing the mail list as this
argument broke out and was frankly scared by the triviality of it all, and it really pisses me off - it's not
easy to keep something ticking along without major backing. Dave and co. do it because presumably they
still enjoy it, and (Look Dave - I'm really sorry
about this next bit) at what is it now, age 62, the
fact is that Dave Brock still has enough energy and
enthusiasm to get himself out on the road with a
decent lightshow, road crew etc., that he has to
ultimately keep chugging along by balancing his
books, taking risks - if a festival you had invested a
lot of time and money in, only to have it scuppered
by someone else trying to cash in on your "brand
name" would you have the heart or even be
bothered to try again the following year? And yes it
doesn't look like we will get a Hawkfest this year,
but why? Because his fire is pulling them across
Europe this summer. Go to a post office any day of
the week and check out the pension queue - not
many of those guys could pull it all off.
|Hmm, about this pension queue...are there any
buskers working that patch?
I'm 30 years old, a musician, and have seen Hawkwind dozens of times since my first gig back in '88.
Yeah, I do look forward to "Take Me To Your Leader", I have been for as long as everyone else. Yeah, I
do think that some of the sets have been a bit samey the last couple of years, and yeah, I have probably
contributed a fair amount in cash on product that may even have bought Dave a cow or two, but he never
made me buy it, and he doesn't really owe me anything - I've seen good gigs and dire gigs by them (and a
couple of my top ones were when they were a trio in the 90's) and that's the way it is. Relax - they are just
a band and they are just human.
"...I used like to see bands that were a bit erratic and daring, because they wouldn't do the same thing
every night. There would always be something different. Maybe you'd see them one week and then two
weeks later you'd see them again and they'd be doing something different. Maybe they'd play badly, you
know. It's unpredictability..."
-Dave Brock, Nov 17th 1992. From the "Collectors guide to Hawkwind" by Rob Godwin
Above: Richard Right: Alan
Another Manchester review from Tom Byrne:
How many gigs can you go to where you chat intimately with people you've never met before as though
you've known each other for years and have plenty in common? Certainly Hawkwind gigs in my
experience. The Ritz, a rather well worn night club in the centre of Manchester's stark urbanity was an
oasis of geniality last Sunday night.
A typically supportive and laid-back crowd. A set of some virtuosity from Huw - the best I've ever seen
from this gentleman - he shines out there on his own. A crowd of all ages - I took my son - many of
them sporting the battle-badges of veteran Hawkwind supporters.
Those who have stood against the storm, against the popular derision of the secondary school musical
press of the 70s, those who weathered the metal diversions of the 80s, who kept the faith during the
dance days of the 90s, met in their virtual Valhalla on Sunday night, transfigured from the ulronic
dancefloor of the Ritz.
The tickets we (and I think that everyone else) had booked hadn't turned up - no matter: Colin said Hello,
checked us off on a list and we were in. The Ritz!? - not the quite the same furnishings as its London
counterpart, and NO FOOD!! Never mind. I got talking, then Huw came on and the evening raced by.
Personally, I prefer Hawkwind as a 5 piece, SH's violin adds an extra dimension and I enjoy a good front
man. I thought Arthur Brown was a worthy addition and enjoyed seeing him last year. That said, the three
piece worked - it was tight & professional. The light show was very good indeed. The only thing I find
slightly irritating is that Dave Brock never quite gets the words of 'Spirit of the Age' - he always misses
the 'if you had ever seen us' bit out.
The high point for me this time was 'Right Stuff' - the Brainstorm encore was also electrifying. My
attention wandered a bit during 'Trip' - perhaps it's better with the lyrics.
The light show was as spectacular as one would expect. It really was more like going to a private party
than going to a gig. Roll on December 15th, Victoria Hall Hanley!
If it's Tuesday, this must be Portsmouth - review by Kit...
Portsmouth Pyramids, 27/04/04:
I travelled down to Southsea to camp there the night with my mate, not knowing we were going to be
camping during a storm! Thankfully that didn't start up until after the gig and in the meantime we
managed to: get stoned (of course), get to see Alan Davey in one of the record shops, fall asleep on the
beach in the sun and go and see the otters, frogs and fish at the Blue Reef Aquarium.
The Pyramids is a nice venue with no balcony and wasn't absolutely packed out, which meant me and my
mate Chris could chill out whilst Huw was on stage. I actually began to find Huw a bit irritating in that he
wasn't actually playing that well and played the same songs I have seen him do as a support act in the
past couple of years. Such as a very poor version of Hurry On Sundown.
I realise that he has had several problems lately but I like to think of Hawkwind as a band that can
introduce me to new acts such as Mr. Quimby's Beard or Add N to X, rather than roll out the
ex-members. If I want to see old acts, what about asking Man or Here & Now, who were superb at the
100 Club a couple of weeks ago or the newly reformed original Groundhogs to play?
Anyway, moan over. Hawkwind played purely as a three piece which meant playing using a MIDI set-up.
Some would say that this maybe limits the spontenaity of improvisation; however I would counter that
with the fact that the sound was superb for a three piece. I will add that the light show was fantastic and
this was augmented by a laser above the band.
It's strange to think of Hawkwind as a good harmony vocal band but the vocals between Dave, Alan and
Richard were superb, particularly on Where Are They Now, Psychedelic Warlords and Brainbox
Pollution. The new tracks were good. Angela Android is fast becoming a favourite of mine and Out Here
We Are was good although this and Trip were ruined by the fact that I couldn't decipher the sampled
saxophone or Calvert vocal respectively.
Is it me or did Spirit Of The Age sound very dancey? This version is good though, and I await the video
in anticipation (although I know that Mr. Wright will have to change the lyrics again to not include the
underage girlfriend). The guys played really well although I did have a bit of trouble hearing Dave's guitar
solos at times. I've been seeing Hawkwind pretty regularly since the Earth Ritual tour but I'd have to say
that the last 3 or 4 times I have seen them have been consistently great with whatever line-up. If using
midi is the way forward (surely using new technology is what Hawkwind are all about?) then that's fine
with me based on this performance.
The rain soon started up as we walked back along the beach. Skinned up a couple in the car listening to
Phaedra by Tangerine Dream and plodded down to the lunar looking beach, not knowing we would nearly
have our tents blown away later during the night. A very trippy day and a great gig.
Moving on to Brighton on 28/04/04, the following photos are from Rob Dreamworker:
Neil (left) Fleece & Colin (above)
Above: the Captain .
Right: from top to bottom, lightshow, Alan, Dave .
Below: the usual suspects (Tommy, MikRik, Nicky
Onto Cardiff. Review by Alan Linsley and photos by Colin Jousxon - thanks gents!
Cardiff Coal Exchange, 29/04/04:
I have to say I really like the Coal Exchange. Although I wish Hawkwind had the support to warrant a
larger venue, I think the Coal Exchange is just right for the level the band are at now. Hawkwind played a
blinder there in 2001, with Alan & Huw sparring with each other on Moonglum for ages.
Huwey played his standard support set, but this was easily my favourite of the tour so far. He did the
same numbers, but he really does seem to be playing better. He was seated all the way through again,
which is a shame because he stood at Salisbury and that got me thinking his strength must be returning.
Highlights were Wars Are The Hobby There, where he gave some stick to a kid at the front (who he
obviously knew) changing the lyrics to "They don't like Matthew". During Wind of Change, Richard took
to his drumkit for some fairly gentle jazzy fills, a nice gesture of support there I thought. Huw threw in a
riff from a Cream number at one point in the set but I can't remember which one it is. He had a lot of us
singing along with Hurry On Sundown (Huwey On Sundown anyone?). Dedicating the song to Mr D. B.
Rock, he repeated his claim that Dave had promised to duet on harmonica and had failed to do so every
night of the tour so far. As Huw left the stage several people made a point of going to the side barriers to
lean over and shake his hand. Look after yourself Huw.
Above left & right: Huw. Below: low profile Crum
Hawkwind were augmented by Crum on synths,
tucked away at the back behind Alan. The main set
was the same as the more recent gigs, except that it
started with an aggressive reading of Adjust Me by
Richard as the band fired up. The encore was
Ejection & Brainstorm (no Brainbox Pollution
tonight). Pete Pracownik joined the band on guitar
for the encore.
On the whole I thought they looked more relaxed
than the last gig I saw. Alan didn't seem to be
having the troubles with his computer that he was
having at Portsmouth. Dave fluffed an intro at one
point and literally slapped his own hand, but other
than that it all seemed pretty smooth. A few quick
points on each song, then :-
Adjust Me - It's nice to see that in this heavily
sequenced version of Hawkwind there's still some
room for spontaneity. At an earlier gig, Portsmouth I
think, Richard was chanting "I am alone" at this point for some reason.
Angela Android - Getting better and better. I may even start to like it ;-)
Assault & Battery / Golden Void / Where Are They Now - they mucked up the start of this, the taped
keyboard sound just kind of stumbled in, sounding just a little too much like a tape for my liking. I've
found A&B a little lacking on this tour, I wish the number was expanded a little rather than just a quick
dash through the verses to get on to GV. Dave's vocals on GV were excellent as ever, how does he do it?
GV was the first number where I can actually say I could hear Crum, there was a definite extra keyboard
sound in the mix there. Where Are They Now was stunning as usual, what a classic it's become after only
a score of live performances. I've noticed that people always respond very positively to this number, and
all around me people started cheering and whistling as the rhythm section kicked in.
Out Here We Are - I think this has become as much a showcase for the short attention span of your
average gig-goer as it has for Alan Davey. Every time it's performed the chattering starts, and what
seemed like half the blokes in the Coal Exchange chose this number for their toilet break. Am I the only
one who wants to just stand there and get quietly lost in this one? (Having said all that, the taped sax break
is a pretty lame idea!)
Sword of the East - I want to stick up for this track a bit. It may be a bit of a plodder but it has a real
majesty that gets me every time. That keyboard riff is awesome, and who says Dave Brock doesn't play
lead, he was soloing like a demon on this one. The noodling midsection seems to be about right as well -
I'm not fond of noodle breaks but on this tour they seem to have tightened them up a bit (if noodling can
be tightened up without losing it's noodlyness, that is). Love that stop/start ending too, with Richard
clattering around his kit. I think this one is a minor classic and a more than adequate replacement for The
Watcher. One point it did highlight though, was that with the main keyboard riff already sequenced there
didn't seem much for Crum to add.
The Right Stuff - Another favourite of mine. A classic Dave Brock vocal, has everybody else spotted
how he has subtly changed the inflections on this one over the years? Crum definitely added a few Dik
Mik style flutters and swizzles here and there. I could also hear keyboards that sounded just like what
Harvey was doing on the ECT TV version, and as I don't remember hearing that before on this tour I'll
give Crum the credit for that too. Go Crum! Finished with the Paranoia riff as usual.
Psychedelic Warlords - Like other gigs on this
tour, it's when they powered into this track almost
straight after Right Stuff that I remember they've
sorted out the "get on with it" problem. More
keyboards in the mix again from Crum. I'm glad
they're keeping this one simple and brief, a
noodle-free track really, very effective. Alan
continues to imitate Lemmy's bass soloing in the
mid-section. Go Alan!
Wings - This one started a little hurriedly, as if
they'd sort of lost track of where they were for a
moment, other than that it was as good as ever. I
*do* miss Keith Barton on this one though, which
is even more annoying when you see him standing
to the side of stage...so near and yet not on guitar.
And has anybody noticed how the swirling circular
blue-green pattern in the lightshow is reminiscent of
a peacock's feathers?
Trip - I really like this, but unfortunately it wasn't
the strongest version, didn't come across quite as
well as, say, Aberdeen, and it did represent another
toilet break for a lot of the Cardiff faithful. The
rhythms remind me of Why Is A Raven... from
Memos & Demos, and I think Alan's little
one-handed keyboard riff is classic
Spirit of the Age - I'm reminded of that interview some US fans did with Dave Brock years ago where he
described a Hawkwind gig as having three peaks - well, when Spirit starts up you know you're on the way
up Mountain #3. This got some of the audience jumping about a bit. I still wish he'd get the lyrics right
Assassins - As Spirit of the Age finished, all the instruments and
sequencers temporarily stopped and for a few seconds there was
total silence - Dave said "at last we have silence!". Then Alan
plugged a certain Bicester-based outfit with "...from the
Assassins of Silence to the Assassins of Allah!" and we were off
again. Several women near me decided to try their hand at belly
dancing during the Palestine bit. I'm glad the mid-section has got
more percussive now, and I think it really is time to drop the
Palestine tape and go further down the percussion route. But I'm
just being picky, it was superb.
After a lot of shouting and stomping of boots, the
encore was Ejection & Brainstorm. The band
seemed to be having fun. Dave introduced Pete
Pracownik as a "well known artist in his own right"
but I'm sure many in the audience were wondering
who the hell he was (as indeed I did when I saw him
with Simon House & Astralasia last year). Pete P
mainly followed Dave on the main riff but
occasionally went into HM widdly widdly mode,
which is probably compulsory given the shiny red
"axe" he was wielding, but it didn't sound too bad at
all from where I was standing.
Above: Pete Pracownik, whose designs form the basis of seemingly all current Hawkwind artwork, and an
ex-Pink Fairy to boot!
And that was it. A good gig, probably the second best of the five I've done so far. Huge thanks to Chaos
Illumination for such a good lightshow at this gig and all the others (except Glasgow...): there's so much
going on I sometimes get totally "lost" when I'm watching it.
Thanks to Colin Jouxson for these and all the other
Phil was at Northampton -he wrote the review- and so was Bev, who took the photos.
I went to the gig on 30 April & thought I would
submit a few comments.
First impression of the venue was excellent, 2
bars, relaxed security and a large-ish crowd.
Unfortunately missed Huw, just managing to neck
a pint before Hawkwind came on. The first tune
(Angela Android) was nothing special and it
escapes me why they are playing it as the intro.
Next up the intro to Assault & Battery sounded
like it was played on a child's toy keyboard, but
thankfully the tune itself was performed quite well.
The main criticism was that the PA was far too
quiet, to the extent that it nearly spoiled the gig for
me. However, tunes like The Right Stuff,
Psychedelic Warlords, Spirit of the Age and
Assassins of Allah made up for the lack of volume.
An encore of Brainbox Pollution and Brainstorm had me at least jumping up and down giving it the large
Overall I was slightly disappointed, the lack of volume detracting from the overall experience. I did not
submit this review to slag Hawkwind off. Far from it. I have seen them over 30 times since 1984, but not
for the last 10 years and was really excited at the prospect of seeing them again. I will still be there on the
next tour, however!!
Phil (bish bosh!)
|These and all the other photos
from Northampton were kindly
provided by Bev, to whom my
very grateful thanks
Dave looks quite animated!
Meanwhile, a different Phil was at Wolverhampton...
Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall, 02/05/04:
Wulfrun Hall, my only gig of the tour...... but what a gig !!!!!! The band were superb from start to
finish... The Captain leading from the front, playing some serious guitar, and singing as well as ever... I
think being a three piece forces dear old Brocky out front a bit more, and he has to work a bit harder, and
can therefore show us his real talent. And he is a most under-rated guitarist, with a unique sound and
style....I love it. This, for me, is the finest Hawkwind line-up ever!!!!!!!!!
The gig was wonderful, my head is still in the clouds..... I loved them in the 90's as a three piece, and
they have again proved just how good they are. They certainly do not need any additional musicians as the
sound is full, and powerful. Adjust Me /Angela Android is a fine opening salvo, and I cannot understand
the criticisms I have heard about this song. Every song was a joy, with Psychedelic Warlords, and Spirit
Of The Age deserving a special mention for the amount of 'Shivers down the backbone' moments, Out
Here We Are, for pure psychedelic soundscapes, and Wings, with Ali on uncontrollable giggles.....
marvellous. Oh, and not forgetting Brainbox Pollution, with The Captain throwing in some tasty rock &
roll licks..... And, of course, the light show was a total freak-out...... Brilliant.!!
The only down-side of the night was Huw Lloyd Langton. He was insulting, and miserable, and at one
point told the audience "you can all sod off". He occasionally showed a glimpse of how good he can be,
but overall it was very sad to see.
Possibly last, but definitely not least, John reviewed the Belfast gig:
Belfast Limelight 05/05/04:
The Limelight in Belfast is a pretty small club, and I was surprised when I first heard Hawkwind were to
play there. Much as I love the place, I imagined that they could have pulled a bigger crowd than could fit
into this small venue, but it didn?' detract from our enjoyment of the show.
Nipped into Katy Daly's next door first for a swift ale. My mate drew the short straw and had to do the
bar- run, a nasty experience in this place at any time of day or night. A full fifteen minutes later, and with
an ashen face and beads of sweat glistening on his forehead, he returned from the throng and thrust a
cool pint of Tennants into my eager hand. We sat talking nonsense for an hour (life, the universe, punk
rock- you know, the usual stuff) during which time I noticed Dave Brock and Alan Davey slipping
in through the staff door that joins Katy Daly's with the Limelight. They watched the football for a while
before disappearing in a puff of smoke before my very eyes.
Noticed a commotion outside on the street which signified the doors to the Limelight were now open, so
we necked our pints and got into the queue. Before long we were inside. I was glad to see the backdrop
in place, which meant we were going to get the light show, and there were also spacey hangings on all
the walls of the club, as well as large mushroom type things hanging from the ceiling, obviously put there
by the band. These looked kind of weird under the Limelight's UV lighting.
Combining a toilet run with a bar assault, I picked up a Spaced Out In London CD before returning to my
dark corner, and awaited the appearance of Huw on stage. He was obviously in good spirits, and there
was plenty of banter between him and the small group who had gathered in front of the stage, but the
majority of the crowd just ignored him and talked over the top of him, which was a shame because the
volume was EXTREMELY low.
About half an hour after Huw left the stage, Hawkwind arrived, and after tuning up/fiddling with knobs
for a minute or two, Launched into Adjust Me/Angela Android. This intro has invited quite a lot of
criticism, but it did the job for me. Then came Assault and Battery/Golden Void/ Where Are They Now
which sounded absolutely fantastic, although a bit quiet. Usually the volume in the Limelight ruptures
eardrums, but it's quite low tonight, though still pretty good.
Next up is Out Here We Are, during which I do a Bar-Run, and step over someone throwing up in the
toilets. Sword of the East is next, which is a storming version, followed by The Right Stuff, which gets
the hairs on my neck standing to attention. Psychedelic Warlords next brings a smile of delight to my
face, followed by Wings which sounds much better than the recorded version.
The crowd seem to be really enjoying the gig, as do the band, who are smiling at each other and laughing
throughout. There?s also a fair bit of banter from Dave, who's obviously having a good time. Spirit of the
Age next is superb, starting off with a kind of techno beat if my ears serve me well, and next up, despite
what other reviewers have said, I think the Robert Calvert poem sounds great. The band finish the main
set with Hassan-i-Sahba, which is rocking, and then they leave the stage for a couple of minutes, during
which time I grab another pint after spying that the bar is not too busy.
The encore of Brainbox Pollution and Brainstorm is as good as I imagined, and the band then thank and
praise the audience for making it a good night, at which point Dave gets an eager punter's jumper round
the head. So back home with my new CD, and I believe it to be my duty to drink myself to sleep with the
sound of Hawkwind rattling round my head!!
Yaz is one half of Yaz and Flo, who lit the Barn Stage at the Hawkfest 2003, and they provided the
lightshow for the Irish leg of the tour. Take it away, Yaz:
Flo, Mick and I were abducted by the Hawkwind mothership for the Irish Leg of their European tour....
Neil and Marie (Chaos Illumination) were unable to do the light show, so were drafted in at the last
minute.... they remembered us from the Hawkfest. We had no idea of the set list, and were very nervous.
Living up to the high standard of Chaos Illumination and being in the company of rock gods from our
youth.....Oh MY GOD!!! HELP!!... WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?????!!!!!!
The first thing we were told ...was... what goes on inside the bus stays on the bus.... Well folks I'm
gonna break the spell and tell ya!
We joined the tour at the very end, with a tired, tour-weary crew....We found ourselves in the illustrious
company of Huw Lloyd Langton and the drummer Richard Chadwick. We had also had a very busy
weekend and had been driving all over the country... luckily we were so tired, we couldn't make too
much conversation...a good excuse for having gormless star struck faces.... After a little relaxant and
some sleep, I opened my eyes to find also on the bus was crew leader Chris (very big man), Mr Dibs...
even bigger man, Fleece, sound engineer, (middle sized man - with big hair) and Floyd - very happy man!
...Not forgetting Anne Marie - in charge of Merchandising.
Oh No...my heart sank... here we go, a week with loud rowdy sweaty smelly men! Full of sexist jokes,
alcohol overload...picking on the newbies! Yes they enjoyed a good time but shock horror...they were
kind, supportive and respectful. Sorry folks...there were no drug-induced orgies or misbehaving of any
kind...well just a little school boy humour... random leching and a lot of chillin out between gigs.
We had some time to kill so I spent most of it talking to Huw...what a character. His main aim was to
wind up the crew at every opportunity...more fool them cos they bit...they bit hard! It was so funny to
watch...if they chose thrash metal to listen to, he would change it to acid jazz, and guaranteed just before
the gig he would go missing...just for the laugh. Well I suppose after years on tour you've got to break
the boredom somehow... Huw is the master. Aside from that he has a magical mystical mind...full of
stories and fun, a true individual and artist.
Richard Chadwick and Huw have a special relationship...a kinship in ways...being in the same place was a
dream come true, watching them play together is an experience never to be forgotten. Huw had bought
his grandson a set of little bongos in Belfast. When Parked up at Dublin ferry port, with a lot of time to
spare, Huw and Richard did what they do best...make music. Huw playing the guitar and Richard on the
bongos...the synergy was fantastic, their faces lit up, shining and happy.
You don't realise how important the bus driver is....ours was a true star...Mike Dell...captain of the ship...
He bent over backwards to help everyone, keep us on track and got us to the gigs on time. Without him
we would still be standing around on the wrong dock, looking very dazed and confused if you know what
I mean :-) On talking to him we found he was a drummer himself...a very accomplished one at that. His
main occupation is a mobile drum school in the South of England (http://www.drumscool.com), and he
drives tour buses part-time...
The band as a whole treated us extremely well. They are genuine down to earth guys....No rock god
paddies...peace love and respect were the order of the day, true hippy style...the tour orchestrated
perfectly by Mrs Hawkwind herself...thanks to everyone.
Anyway enough rambling from me... the photos from Ireland are on the website at
Love and purple sparkles
yaz and flo
x x x x