|December 2008 Tour
Fellow Hairy-Arsed Hawkwind Fans' gig reviews and photos - contributions gladly accepted! Please
email me here to add to the page. Many thanks to all whose reviews and / or photos appear here...
Glasgow Carling Academy, Thursday 04/12/2008
Opening night of the tour and fortunately the forecast bad weather has not arrived. A great venue for rock
and a decent sized crowd present given that there was little publicity in the press.
I am always dubious of opening nights, how well rehearsed are the band, will everything gell together etc.
Well on this occasion everything gelled. A great opening with noises like those from War of the Worlds
with flashing white lights greeted the band and they erupted straight into Masters of the Universe. Time W e
Left, Lighthouse and Orgone Accumulater / Dreaming followed. Dave was centre stage and was bouncing
about like a two yr old, clearly enjoying himself.
A slow piano intro leads into Whoâ€™s Gonna Win the War and some blistering guitar from Dave. This is
followed by Angels of Death and a new song â€œRayâ€� which is a great rocker and possibly the best
song in the set. Utopia follows and then its into Assassins of Allah and then another new song? Sung by
Dibs and this was quite spacey and trippy.
Dave lets rip with the guitar again as they scorch into Right To Decide before a spoken part by Dibs and
blister towards the finish line with Damnation Alley.
The encore consisted of Flying Doctor and Silver Machine with the volume cranked up. This is a great
show with excellent lighting and good mime by the dancers.
Minus points â€“ some older stuff needs to be revisited. The shows over the past few years have had a
much ness about them and although hearing these songs is great it starts to get a bit tedious and we need
more variety. Dibs vocals lack a lot of authority and power. Flying Doctor has never really done it for me.
Plus Points â€“ A very powerful high energy show. Dave is on great form dominating from centre stage
and is playing some blistering guitar and this will only get better as the tour goes on. For an opening night it
was well paced, musically together and very enjoyable with no obvious glitches. Enjoy!
-Ron Wright (who also took these photos, cheers!)
Thought the band was really tight last night and great to see a good turnout on such a crap cold night .
Can't believe the last time I saw them in Glasgow was at the tiny Cathouse so it was welcome to see them
on a big stage again. No Lives of Great Men but good to see some of the old classics such as Master Of
The Universe, Orgone Accumulator, Right To Decide, Assassins of Allah (or whatever it's called these
days), Who's Gonna Win The War, and -best of all- a great full-length version of Damnation Alley. They
even encored with Silver Machine! The only thing that gets on my nerves a little is the mime artist stuff - I
personally don't think it adds anything to the show other than a hint of the absolute ridiculous. So ditch
that nonsense Dave and just keep to the music and the lightshow, as both stand up in their own right.
What does everyone else think - should the mime stuff stay or go? As it was the first night poor old Dave
was struggling on his pins a little and had to sit down for a breather every 3 or 4 songs. But he still dished
out razor sharp bursts of rythm guitar - the old sod. Fantastic show !
I thought the gig was superb, marred slightly by bad sound and reverberating bass, but a good set, not as
many quiet bits as on previous outings. It was pretty full on. I had my reservations about them playing in a
venue like the Academy, but it was very well attended, and in my opinion better attended than any Scottish
gig since 1995.
I'm amazed no-one has mentioned Matt's furry orange legs and bouncy stilts during Silver Machine. That
had to be seen to be believed. He would bounce up and down at one side of the stage then bound/bounce
to the other side, then back again. It was hilarious. The band were laughing their arses off at his antics and
many in the crowd, myself included, had huge grins on our faces after that. I only got a few blurry photos
of him as he was moving too quick! As elusive as a haggis...
Niall fitted in pretty well. He played guitar, had the laptop and keyboards and also played bass along with
Dibs on a couple of numbers (Who's gonna win the war + another I think). His guitar was audible but
unobtrusive, so Brock's guitar was still the clearer. As it should be!
The lightshow was great as usual, and the mime and interpretations were pretty entertaining too. I know
some people don't like the performers but I think it's just part of the Hawkwind carnival prescribed by Dr
And best of all, they are back in Scotland in April. Yay!
-Alan Taylor [who also took the photos immediately preceding and succeeding his review]
I hadn't seen Hawkwind in 25 years (no, really) and I was not disappointed by the show. My worries that
much of the mateial would be recent and unfamiliar were unfounded as the band kicked in with Master of
the Universe and followed it with Time we Left. The vocals could have done with being a little more
piercing but the overall sound was very much that Hawkwind "noise" which we all know and love. I
knew this was going to be a good gig from the start.
All the band deserve credit. Tim was enjoying himself and his facial expressions when playing with his
theramin were unique. Dave looked exhausted before the encore but he managed to keep a smile on his
The two performers added interest to the show. I've read elsewhere that some thought their presence was
"cheesy" but then again much can be said of Hawkwind anyway and we love 'em for it. Their millitary act
in Who's Gonna Win The War was well-choreographed and precise as was their mime where the agent
seeks out books to destroy. And this in stark contrast to the freeform routines which got better as the
show went on. The two of them with geiger counters in Damnation Alley following the security guy was
funny as was the Silver Machine furry trousers constume, which I took to represent what Dave thinks of
Silver Machine anyway!
Flying Doctor in the encore was a surprise choice for me as I was expecting Brainstorm or something
more rabble-rousing. Richard said the encore was going to be "fun". Urban Guerilla would have been
good here and in keeping with the themes but I've never actually seen them perform this live so wasn't
holding out much hope.
An excellent choice of venue. Hundreds of fans there and I still managed to get to the front!
-Adrian Tupper [who also took the 2 photos below - cheers!]
Cardiff The Point, Sunday 07/12/2008
Last night was that time again, the annual pre-xmas Night Of The Hawks. This year a change from the
usual Manchester academy reunion of my merry Hawksters, instead (due to many factors) I ventured
much closer to home (with a new convert, Paul) and attended at the simply excellent "The Point" in
Cardiff. For those of you who are not familiar with the venue, it is basically a large church converted into
a music venue . It is all standing and has stone pillars, tall wooden clad ceilings and a bar, so a perfect
venue to watch Hawkwind.
This was the first Hawk gig in years which has not been preceeded by enthusiatic festivities on my part
therefore this probably is going to be the most objective review I will ever do!!
In a nutshell this was a muscular Hawkwind with a much heavier and fuller sound than recent years and
the set was fast-paced with few lulls. The band were tight and evidently enthusiatic and the additon of
Niall meant a more guitar based sound. I prefer this brand of Hawkwind live and always have and from
the very punchy "Master of the Universe" (probably the best I have heard in the last 26 years) through to
"Time We Left", the gig kicked off as it meant to go on. Many renditions such as "Who's Gonna Win The
War" and "Damnation Alley" were simply the best versions I have ever heard live, and Orgone
Accumulator is nearing how it should be, very toe-tapping, so to speak.
I would have prefered "Magnu" to "Angels of Death", but the latter was pumped out with an edge I have
not heard for years (huzzah!) and "Arrival In Utopia" gets better every time I hear it live...am very much
liking the Dibs speaking bit too. Man of the match...split decison between the Captian for his wonderful
guitar work and Mr.Chadwick for his overall contribution... The new stuff (are we to see a new album in
2009...please) especially "Wraith" was promising and ever so slightly Calvertistic may I say...which is
good of course.
The capacity crowd was, as ever ,clearly full of card- (or should I say passport-) holding Hawksters from
all walks of life and it was very nice to see some youngsters in lab coats - welcome to the future. The
light show (strobetastic) was pleasing as ever and the video backdrop added to the ambience, especially on
"Who's Gonna Win" and "Damnation Alley".
On a more analytical note, I have heard Hassan / Assassins played better (or more powerfully to be more
accurate) and although it was much better this time around, "Lighthouse" still does not do it for me,
however that is mere detail as overall this was vintage Hawkwind and to finish with a classic version of
"Brainstorm" was special... I can still remember the first time I heard this live, nearly 27 years ago, and it
still gets me jigging!!
To cap it all the tour shirts were excellent, especially the "Doremi" one, and am looking forward to
Hawkfest next summer already. Checking out ...
-Rhodri [pics by Hawklord Rob P]
Unfortunately had a few beers (etc) before the gig and without any tea, so my memory is a bit hazy...I
can confirm, though, it was probably the best I have seen Hawkwind in the last 10 years, certainly
rivalling the 2000 Tour where, if memory serves, DB was joined by Simon House and HLL.
Line up on this occasion was as expected / announced: DB, RC, Tim Blake, Mr Dibbs, and what might
have been Dave's grandson, but was I think the guitarist out of Tribe of Cro.
I certainly never got round to writing down a set list, but seem to remember, amongst other things, Flying
Doctor, Golden Void (first in the last three years as my son had never heard it done live before) a
mercifully truncated Silver Machine, and a most welcome Right to Decide.
Mr Brock (who is a God and pisses all over Nik Turner on Friday night's showing) seemed to be a very
happy chappy throughout the set, had his now customary "sit down" during an instrumental break half
way through, grinning broadly for the duration, and didn't give over lead guitar duties to the youngster
(which I had assumed might happen). The sound was fair, though never going to rival their glory days
(remember the vomit-inducing bass rumbles?), the crowd enthusiastic if as middle-aged as me.
Sorry to anyone I offended by slagging off Nik Turner very loudly at the front, but the spirit and sound of
Hawkwind belong to one band only, and that's the one wtih Dave Brock in it. On the evidence of this gig,
I hope to see them many more times before age takes its toll!
One happy punter
Newcastle Academy, Friday 05/12/2008 [above pic by Rob Pitcher, cheers]
Dave, left, Richard, below &
dancer Matt, right: photos taken on
5/12/08 at Newcastle by Rob P
Just thought I'd say a few words about the Cardiff gig... To start with, The Point is a small venue,with
quite a small stage which can be great for seeing the band close up but generally means you get a scaled
down light show. As it is, from looking at photos from other shows, I think we got the full lightshow.
The sound was really good, if a little quiet for my liking - bands never seem to play as loud as they used
to, now the whole world's gone Health & Safety mad.
I can't remember the full set list (I'm never together enough to take notes) but highlights for me were
Right To decide, Orgone Accumulator, and a storming full-length version of Damnation Alley,with
Brainstorm as the final encore. Brock's guitar was always up in the mix, as it should be, and apart from a
few little rests on his chair, he was front of stage all the way through.
I took my girlfriend to see Hawkwind for the first time. 2 minutes into the first song, I asked if she could
see OK, she said she didn't care as long as she could see him, pointing at Dave. It seems she took a bit of
a shine to him right from the off...there's life in the old dog yet!
Tim Blake was bang on form and very entertaining to watch, Richard was very vocal between songs and
played brilliantly, Dibs seems to be fitting in really well and looked very at home up there, and Niall who
was furthest away from me, looked like he was busy up there playing keyboards and guitar - but a lot of
his guitar work was very low in the mix, it would have been nice to hear a bit more of him. All in all a
really enjoyable gig...
-Pete Ellis [pics by Hawklord Rob P]
Exeter University, Monday 08/12/2008
ohmigod Exeter was a strange venue - it took an hour to find the place and once through the door you came
into a hall with a large bar and seating on one side while the other side comprised a sort of hotel reception
area with a stage tucked away at the back - indeed as was pointed out to me, the bar area was larger than
the stage area! It is therefore a huge tribute to the band and a credit to their professionalism, as well as the
quality of their playing and the strength of the set that despite this they not only managed to fit everyone on
stage, but had a full lightshow and played a very creditable set - though it can't have been easy - the dancers
even had to perform on boxes laid out across the front of the stage!
Set list was as Glasgow: Intro, Master of the Universe, Time We Left, Lighthouse (I'm entirely in favour of
someone helping Tim with the vocals on this - it's a lovely track and works well with two vocalists), then
an Alien intro, then Orgone Acumulator / Only Dreaming, then a gentle pensive piano intro into Who's
Gonna Win The War (this is awesome and has been given a strong contemporary relevance with the
dancers portraying soldiers - not dancing - just standing there with guns. The last time I saw something
Marillion doing "Forgotten Heroes" but let us pass
swiftly onwards! The audience reaction to this track
is interestingly varied - there was silence at
Newcastle (I'm not sure people quite knew what to
make of it), swiftly followed by (and it's a very
neatly crafted segue) Angels of Death/Life (with fiery
images of skull heads and a truly wonderful extended drum/choppy guitar/drum rhythm sequence - a
glorious sound) then Wraith, Utopia (excellent version - clear vocals - images of the mindless masses on
their way to work), Damnation Alley, Sentinel - I like this, lyrical, calm and has the dancers/performers as
strangely stooped giant stilted creatures stalking among the band on stage (though sadly they couldn't get on
stage in Exeter) then Right to Decide (with a 3rd verse I haven't sussed yet), Fahrenheit 451 (Dibs doing an
excellent job with the spoken verse), and Damnation Alley to end the set. In Exeter the encore was limited
(unsurprisingly) to Silver Machine but in Newcastle the band started early so did an extended encore which
included (hooray - I don't care what anyone says about repetitiveness I just love this!) Assault and Battery /
Golden Void and Where Are They Now). Dave's guitar really makes these tracks come alive and "sing"
<that's not the word I want - perhaps "resonate" is better> but truly I could not have been happier. Overall I
strongly feel the strength/quality of the overall sound is so much better with Tim and Niall contributing as
well - you may not always be aware of them individually but the extra dimension makes a tremendous
difference - at least it does when the sound mix doesn't deafen you.
Anyhow - that's it for my tour this winter. Thank you and congratulations to everyone. Enjoy the rest of
-Jill Strobridge [pic below by Hawklord Rob P]
I was well impressed with the turnout at Newcastle last night. I had only been to the Academy twice
before -to see Porcupine Tree and Mercury Rev- and the attendance was higher than for either of those
two which is a testament to Hawkwind's continuing popularity.
I hadn't realised the gig was an "early kick-off" -due to there being some party on later in the venue- and
luckily enough had asked a doorman when Hawkwind would be on stage whilst passing the venue. So
the Hawks were on at 8pm and played until 10pm. There were plenty of younger fans there as well. I
was talking to one who first heard of Hawkwind only 7 months ago!
It was a good performance by the band, who seem very together. There were lots of the usual favourites
we have become used to over the past couple of years in the set. The highlight for me was the opening
encore number Assault and Battery / The Golden Void.
The stage was quite brightly lit throughout and it brought to mind a comparison with the Brixton
Academy gig (late 80's, I think) where the only lighting was the projection screen!
Nottingham Rock City, Thursday 11/12/2008
Firstly, I think I have said this before but Hawkwind should not play venues with low ceilings as it always
seems we are missing something of the lightshow. When we see pictures from bigger venues, it's almost
like we are getting a second class Hawkwind! And I don't particularly want to have to travel to London
Astoria to see the whole lightshow, because the sound there is rubbish.
Aside from that, what a performance! Very tight, very energetic and very heavy...we all know the set list
by now so I won't go into that, just to say the two new songs are excellent and although everyone seems to
have mentioned "Wraith", I think "Sentinel" was absolutely brilliant with strong leanings towards Bob
Calvert - era Hawks. This is obviously a good thing made even better by the fact that Mr. Dibs (IMHO)
sounds really like Bob. His spoken pieces are becoming better and better. Niall, the new guy, seemed to do
well, although the lead riff he was playing on "Right to Decide" was iffy to say the least.
My highlights were Tim Blake and Richard Chadwick, whose performances over the last few gigs,
including tonight's, epitomise the Hawkwind ethos, and something that's missing in a lot of music: energy,
enjoyment and humour. Three new songs in the last two tours.. how about three old songs in the next tour?
-John-Paul [who also took these photos:]
Frome Cheese & Grain, Sunday 14/12/2008
Bloody hell that was a cracker - just in time for Christmas...
The best show I've seen for some time. Really was awesome to hear Dave out front all night, and
soloing. The second guitar and keyboards make such a fuller sound, and with Tim doing the Merlin magic
it was a well easy take off and flight!!
Levitation occurred about 2 songs in for me, which is pretty damn fast... Looks like others achieved this
within the first mind blowing 30 seconds of sonic destruction by the band. The acid heads were dancing
behind and in front of me tonight, and there were even some interesting stage invasions (17-year-old urban
streetwear kids, bong'd to the tits invading the stage and dancing... It's come a long way from the
trenchcoat posse of the 70's ha ha ha!)
Two new numbers, Sentinel & Wraith, were both crackers, and the guitar solo from the Captain on
Sentinel was lovely and made all the better by its' longevity.
Highlights, apart from those above, were Damnation Alley -really very intense!!!- Right To Decide and,
well, all of it really. It really was a f**king stonker... Hope all those on the rest of the tour get it as good
Below pic by Adrian Tupper
Pics by Hawklord Rob P (below) & Ziggy (right)
This was my first outing to see the band since Croydon 4 or 5 years ago, which has been a touch remiss
of me because I have been a Hawk fanatic since I first saw them in Oxford as a 16 year old, and
experienced The Space Ritual. So a scan of the tour dates, a phone call to my brother and a wave of my
Visa card on the net and we were set for a great night out... An easy 60 mile drive down the M3, found the
venue thanks to Sat.Nav. and we treated ourselves to a double cheeseburger each at the Big M before the
concert. We Preston boys know how to make a night of it!
We started to queue at 7.40, doors opened at 8.00, in we went - and that, fellow Hawksters, is where the
evening started to go downhill fast, gathering G-force momentum as the evening progressed.
The venue advertised limited seating - too right, a couple of stools around the perimeter of the balcony, if
you got one of these then good luck to you. I reckon this place holds about 500 to 600 people and it is tiny
and totally unsuitable for this many people. Downstairs they were packed in so tight they must have taken
it in turns to breathe. Upstairs offered such an unsuitable place to view the concert that I warrant most of
us could only see glimpses of the band. I didn't see Richard once. Now then, Mr & Mrs Brock, did
anyone actually have a look at this place before booking it? I notice Dave likes a sit down, well so do I,
none of us are getting younger.
On to the concert, not a bad beginning, the running order has been listed in other reviews, then we were
treated to a Sanyo bluescreen as a backdrop, followed by some muted apology about the computer
breaking down, so no light show. This then seemed to give an excuse for Dave and the band to go
through the motions, faces like lemons and no interaction with the crowd. A half-hearted encore of Silver
Machine just about finished me, and the others around me, off.
As I mentioned earlier I last saw them 4 years ago and the songs seemed more or less the same with a
couple of average new ones, the interminable Hassan, which I had hoped had died a death with Alan, was
played and the contribution from the new fella seemed totally superfluous. Was there ever a band in
greater need of a front man? Dave can go and hide as is his wont or play with his back to the crowd as he
did for much of tonight staring at the blue screen. Get someone with some personality on the stage, Nik
At the end of the concert it took all Dave's effort to say goodnight and then bugger off behind the curtain.
In future book suitable venues, at least look as though you want to do something for my Â£20, for Christ's
sake charge Â£30 and give us a chance of seeing you in some comfort. Don't take us for granted as you
did tonight and as you did with your last CD & DVD release.
I will get over it,but a word to the wise,do not take us for granted.
-Terry.Preston [Below: Astoria pic by Graham P]
Southampton The Brook, Monday 15/12/2008
Just got back from the Astoria. What a fantastic gig. I will start by saying how great it was to at see a bit
of drama injected into the proceedings with a full on sonic carcophony at the start in the old Hawkwind
style, instead of everyone drifting on which I always find a bit of an anticlimax personally. This reminds
me of the first time I saw Hawkwind play at the Hammersmith Odeon in April 88, which began with a
barrage of sounds, Dave's whining guitar (the old knife up and down the strings trick), and the curtains
sweeping aside to reveal a glowing array of various lab equipment and glowing figures on stage, I'd never
seen anything so spectacular in my life (perhaps you should get out more , I hear you say).
Anyway, I digress. This ran into Master of the Universe, and in a brilliant nod to the cover of the Masters
of the Universe UA LP, sinister hooded figures drifted onstage. My memory of the exact sequence is hazy,
but I was struck by what a full and heavy sound the band had tonight, emphasised by Dibb's hoody pulled
up (was he imitating Uncle Rotter all you Hawkfest-goers out there?), this was certainly bordering on
grunge / death metal. Angels of Death even featured two basses courtesy of new man Niall, who made an
excellent contribution to the overall sound. The new songs were excellent especially Sentinel.
On a more personal note (hope he doesn't mind me mentioning this), Dib's Mum and Dad had made the
journey from Wales, they were so proud and I photographed them outside the Astoria with him before the
gig. My only moan is that the band soundchecked with one of the best versions of Assault and Battery I've
heard recently, much more like the version on Warrior' and then didn't play it during the actual gig, and
what happened to Farenheit 451? I was desperate to hear that and they didn't do it despite playing it
throughout the tour. Can't believe no-one has picked up on this, but I 'm sure this song has never been
played live until now....does anyone know?
An excellent if rather sad evening as the Astoria could in theory be pulled down in a month to make way
-John.Chase [Below: Astoria pic by Graham P]
London Astoria, Tuesday 16/12/2008
Went to see Hawkwind at The Brook Southampton on Monday 15th. I heard Dave saying the venue was a
bit small and was going to have words with the booking agent about it. But they got on with it, which
shows how professional the band are. I got the feeling they did not feel comfortable on such a small stage,
which had a balcony hanging right out over it. From a fan's point of view it was great as I don't think I
can recall having ever been so close to the band.
The dancers only came out on a few songs and could not move about much - very restricted indeed.
Added to this the light show kept going off, and the projector restarted. In virtually every song we had a
countdown from 29 with Sanyo and input 2 being the only thing visible most of the time. This seemed to
be getting to Dave as he was stood side-on looking at it a lot of the time. He eventually gave up on it and it
went off altogether half way through gig, though he did make a joke out of it, saying "Sanyo Input 2, that's
the title of our new record..." They also had problems with monitors and Niall's guitars etc., so it was one
of those nights. But the show must go on and they carried on.
I liked the 2 new songs. The second of these was a slower one, with Dave sat playing some nice guitar,
which was very good. The band now sound heavier and I enjoyed Tim's playing synth, theremin, piano,
and his Guitar Keyboard. Niall fitted in well with some nice guitar stuff. He also played some nice synth
sounds and extra bass on Angels Of Death. Dibs did a lot of the vocals, and Dave just played guitar and did
some vocals, Richard also doing vocals as well as his drumming as usual...
I managed to buy a Space Melt DVD from the merchandise table and they had some nice In Search Of
Space T-shirts. Having watched the DVD when I got home, I noticed that Dave did virtually all the vocals
on that 2006 tour, compared to now, and is something I would like to see them going back to, as I do
prefer him on lead vocals to Dibs.
The support band was Familiar Looking Strangers who had also supported at Frome the previous night.. I
saw them play at The Hawkfest 08 and tonight they sounded much heavier, which I preferred. Stand-in
drummer Dave slotted in well and they put in a good performance considering the circumstances, going
down very well with the packed crowd. I heard them saying to Dibs and The Captain about Dave having
had to be driven down from Liverpool to stand in at the last minute, and them saying the show must go on,
which seemed to be the theme all night what with all the problems Hawkwind encountered on their set.
Southampton (15/12/08) and Astoria (16/12/08)
First â€“ as ever at this time of year thanks to all of the Hawkwind crew for setting up our Solstice /
Christmas / New Year entertainment. After the sad loss of Jason, recognised by a tribute from Richard at
both gigs, the true spirit of the band lives on.
Others have reviewed the set list, Iâ€™d thought I would comment on 2 different venues
Southampton: Terryâ€™s review is I feel unfair. We all know in Hampshire that the Brook is a great
small music venue, good club atmosphere, not the best sound system ever heard, but itâ€™s good that
well respected and important bands with a pedigree like Hawkwind (and others Iâ€™ve seen there like
Mountain and Iron Butterflyâ€¦.not to mention Mr Turners band!) play there. Agreed, not the best
performance Iâ€™ve ever seen from the band, but everyone (well, almost everyone!) left with big smiles
on their faces and ears buzzing. Even my wife, who last saw them at the Fulcrum in Slough over 20 years
ago enjoyed it and said it was well put together. BTW she wanted to see what the band are like now as I
always sneak out to at least 1 gig a yearâ€¦earlier this year even took the young kids to Wyeside. So please
do not discount the Brook next time, maybe just play to its' restrictions. Hampshire needs Hawkwind!
Also we were in the pit at the front â€“ it was not jam packed (compared to the Astoria!)â€¦ Iâ€™m not
the tallest guy in the world but got a great view, could move freely and chat with fellow Hawkfans
between numbers and sup a few beers in the process.
Astoria: What can I say - thanks guys, the performance/sound/effects/dancing top rate, where will it be
next year? Final comment on the setâ€¦shame Assault and Battery was not on the list at either venue, will
always miss Spirit of the Age (need it for the singalong at the endâ€¦should replace Flying Doctor and
double head with Silver Machineâ€¦â€™what a great way to goâ€™!). Would be good to rotate the older
numbers more frequentlyâ€¦such a large back catalogue needs to be dusted down more oftenâ€¦suggestions
are Hurry on Sundown (okay good acoustic version by HLL at Astoria), Space is Deep, Night of the
Hawks, Valium 10, Quark Strangeness and Charm, Psychedelic Warlordsâ€¦.ad infinitum. Good to see
new songs getting played, though.
Weâ€™ve got the spirit
-Richard [Below: Astoria pic by Graham P]
[Resuming with London Astoria, Wednesday 16/12/2008]
The doors opened on time and I was able to get in, get to the bar and find a seat on the balcony before 3
Daft Monkeys came on promptly at 7.15pm. What to say? At least they arenÂ´t Uncle Rotter and they
have an apparently talented fiddle player. The opening instrumental promised some straight-ahead folk /
dance music but it was not to be. They are good natured and they went down well with the crowd but I
find their guitarist / singer has too much to say for himself and skimps on composing melodies - and the
song structures are stifled by having to fit around the words.
A largely unfamiliar stage crew (aside from Keith Barton) fussed around a bit and Huw shuffled on, doing
his by now slightly tiresome befuddled wino impersonation. His short set starts supremely unpromisingly
with a perfunctory and repetitive â€œWars Are The Hobby Thereâ€�, a marginally better â€œWind of
Changeâ€� (with intro to The Fifth Second grafted on) and a dull â€œCardboard Cityâ€�, then his
obligatory blues workout. By this time his fingers and voice seem to have loosened up but you really could
wish for a slightly different set to the one he usually plays. I mean, heÂ´s released loads of albums and he
has loads of other good songs. However, he played a decent acoustic â€œMoonglumâ€�, a passable â
€œRocky Pathsâ€� and a fairly good â€œHurry On Sundownâ€�.
The Hawks were preceded by some proper intro music rather than just wandering onstage and plugging in
as they have been wont to do on recent tours and they have markedly sharpened and toughened their sound.
After a muddy â€œMaster of the Universeâ€� (only Dibs' bass emerging from the sludge) the mix cleared
up nicely and only NiallÂ´s contributions were difficult to pick out. Both sound and lightshow were spot
on, the dancers not too embarrassing and we even got two new songs. In fact letÂ´s be clear, Hawkwind
were loud and they rocked â€“ the pace hardly every slackened and the lounge act stuff is clearly history.
This was an excellent gig.
Dibs does a sterling job, taking lead vocals on the Calvert material (Damnation Alley, Flying Doctor,
Assassins of Allah) and helped Tim with Lighthouse and his spoken vocals (on for example Fahrenheit 451,
which is rendered as a poem) are buoyed up by effects. Both new songs are by Dibs â€“ the excellent â
€œWraithâ€� and less exciting â€œSentinelâ€� â€“ and sound like Spacehead compositions arranged for
Richard was in nostalgic mood, thanking the crowd for their â€œsupport over all these yearsâ€�, but if this
was intended to lead up to DB announcing his retirement, thankfully it didnÂ´t. Richard even introduced the
band, briefly acknowledging the reason for the changes: â€œJasonÂ´s goneâ€¦â€� Richard took lead vocals
on an excellent WhoÂ´s Gonna Win The War.
Tim spent much less time at the theremin, playing keyboards almost throughout, and running to the front of
the stage with his hand-held synth whenever possible, every inch the rock star. DaveÂ´s vocal
contributions were more limited (but still included Orgone Accumulator / Dreaming, Time We Left, Angels
Of Death, Arrival In Utopia and Right To Decide) but his guitar work was prominent, including some
The set offered few surprises (almost inevitably in the age of the internet) and closed with a thrashy
rendition of Silver Machine. Maybe it has to be said that this is still Hawkwind as their own tribute band,
with a set built on tried and trusted favourites, but thereÂ´s life in the old dog yet and if they can maintain
this form 2009 could be a very good year.
-Graham P [whose pics these are, also]
Well...Wow!! My 6th year in 7 (my wife did not want me to go last year :-( ) and this was the best thing
I've heard from Hawkwind for sound and set list. Dave Brock was in form from meeting and greeting we
the little people in line before the concert, through fronting the band here at the Astoria. The concert
tonight marks time as the Astoria will be demolished next month (?) to expand the Tottenham tube station
in London. I'm a Canadian to these shores for the past 13 years and as a foreigner even I can see a
criminal offence when one is committed. Happily tonight I kept my indulgence with the pint to a
respectable limit (7 pints over 7 hours or so) and was positioned front and centre on the floor. Thank you
to all the band members for making these past 51 years worth reflecting back on. What I loved in 1973
still shines through loud and clear today. Thanks for the memories....so...where do we go to from here?
-Jeff Krotz [Below: Astoria pic by Graham P]
They opened up with Master of the Universe and a fine rendition it was too! The gig went off well
although they had trouble with the light show (come back Liquid Len)... it was off more than it was on,
however this did not spoil the gig at all. The music was outstanding, even though there seemed to be some
technical difficulties with Mr.Dibs' bass and the new guy's guitar.
This was about the 12th time I had seen them and I would say probably one of the best. Good set list
including Assassins of Allah (one of my favourites) and Orgone Accumulator, also a couple of new songs
(looking forward to a new album). The only down side for me was the cramped venue and the encore of
Silver Machine! No Brainstorm The stage was not really big enough for them and they shouldn't have
bothered with the dancers (pointless really, certainly not Stacia). They certainly wouldn't have pulled off
the Chronicle of the Black Sword tour in such a small venue...
-John Brookes [Below: Astoria pics by Graham P]
I was at the Astoria gig which was quite disappointing. I donâ€™t know if it was my mood or what, but I
havenâ€™t seen Daveâ€™s band (as they are now) for two or three years, and I felt let down. They didnâ
€™t really feel like Hawkwind (whom I have seen a lot).
Anyway, Tim Blake, who I donâ€™t think I have ever seen live with them, was there, and they did
Lighthouse. The bassist (whoever he is) sounded like Bob Calvert quite a lot for the Bob parts. They did
Hassan-i-Sahba very well, along with Damnation Alley and Orgone Accumulator which I particularly
enjoyed. The new songs, of which they did two, were shit (IMHO). But there was no Hawkwind
atmosphere. The noodling bits were substandard, but the dancers were good...
I will see them next time and continue to buy Daveâ€™s records, but spend more time looking out to see if
Nik Turnerâ€™s bonkers early Hawkwind band is touring, I think. Last week I saw the Hold Steady who
pissed all over the current Hawkwind as a concert experience. Out of up to 20 Hawkwind gigs, I think that
the Eastercon in Brighton with Bob in 1984 and the Sonic Attack tour (1981?) were the best I saw.
Chronicles was not a bad tour either.
I saw them in Hemel in the late eighties or early nineties all in white lab coats. That was good too. At the
moment... hmm... not sure. Good gig, I enjoyed it, but not a good Hawkwind gig.
-Andrew [who also took the following 4 photos]
I've been reading through the reviews and thought I'd add my thoughts of the London Astoria gig. `Having
waited for a couple of years for Hawkwind to return the the east again (last saw them in Norwich in
October 2006) I decided to make the 3 hour trek with my son to the big city for the last show of the
year. Three Daft Monkeys were fine, I'd seen them before supporting the Levellers so knew what to
expect. ` That they should have played more and talked less between songs is my only gripe. Now, I love
Huwey's guitar playing with Hawkwind and still rate the material written through the 80s as some of the
most enjoyable...but why, oh why did he try to play what are essentially electric guitar songs on
acoustic? Moonglum? It was never going to work, was it? It was a shame to see him struggling...so
I've just listened to Levitation and Night Air to reaffirm his genius. Perhaps, reader, you should do the
Hawkwind's set was a solid one relying heavily on "old stuff". I particularly enjoyed Orgone
Accumulator, Angels of Death, Arrival in Utopia and (surprisingly!?) Silver Machine. It was a bold move
to play two new songs, Wraith and Sentinel, which I presume have sprung from the pen of Dibs. I think
these need some more work done to them, however, and hearing a few more times before passing any
constructive judgement. A new CD would be a good way of doing this, guys!! The overall sound was
heavier than it has been for a while. There were less long synth atmospherics and it was so GOOD to
HEAR Dave playing lead guitar breaks again. Most excellent.
Although I had a very enjoyable night, I didn't think the band hit full throtle and certainly didn't take us
winging towards the stars as they have in the past. Tim Blake tried very hard to raise enthusiasm by
grabbing his "guitar type" keyboard, coming to the front of the stage to play his solos. I would agree with
a previous review that the gig just seemed to have a very subdued feeling to it. Maybe one reason
contributing to the lack of atmosphere was the bright lighting. I can't remember a gig where the onstage
lighting was so bright! For me this took away the Hawkwind aura of mystery that sparser lighting, lasers
and UVs create.
The band at the moment is strong. The addition of Niall Hone I'm still not sure about...nothing personal...
but I couldn't really see what his job was meant to be. The sound would have been the same really
without additional rhythm guitar (Niall's was mixed very low and sounded muddy) and I'm sure Tim could
have covered all the computer / synth noodling if Dave no longer wants to do this any more...and why
two basses on Angels Of Death; it was unnecessary and I couldn't hear Niall's anyway.
I shall continue to support this truly unique band; I started in October 1982 on the Choose Your Masques
tour, and 32 gigs and 26 years later, I still care. Hawkwind, please come east again; the Cambridge
Junction would be the best venue to play and is where I witnessed my best ever Hawkwind performance
on the Bussiness Trip tour in 1993...there were only the three of you (Dave, Richard and Alan) and it was
awesome; that night we flew!
-Tim Chipping, Norfolk [photo below by`Graham P.]
Prestatyn Pontins, Hard Rock Hell - Saturday 06/12/2008
Despite having apparently had a 'physical discussion' with Litmus beforehand at sound check (just like the
old days!), Hawkwind were tight, and went down a storm with the more Heavy Metal orientated crowd,
although with the age range present I reckon a lot were going "Gosh, I've not seen them since '74/'84/'94,
are they still going?" and were pleasantly surprised they were as good as they are at the moment - a long
way from becoming 'their own tribute band'.
They were wise with their set selection for 60 minutes, sticking with Blanga-orientated stuff, the middle bit
of Hassan-i-Sahba (Space is their Palestine) being the only real trippy / synthy breakdown bit. It was also
nice to stand front and centre and not be crowded too much, unlike the oversold crush at Manchester
Academy 2 for the last two years. I was able to bounce along to Orgone Accumulator to my hearts
content! (BTW it wasn't me that annoyed people at Manchester, although I do think Hawkwind audiences
are a bit too static and should let go a bit more...if everyone bounces together it's as good as everyone
standing still ;-) )
As others have said, the sound is a lot fuller, especially at the low end. Dibs has a new Bass. I'm afraid I
was in the "a bit anaemic after Davey" camp with Dibs' bass sound previously, which I think did the
quality of his playing a disservice. But it seems sorted now. The old bass did look cool though, with the
funny strap and modern shape.
The versions and arrangements were the same as at the other gigs as far as I could tell, although I think
Dave was playing the rhythm guitar bits with a bit more of the damped heavy metal 'chug' than usual.
Having said that, Time We Left and Angels of Death are as 'heavy' sounding as a lot of the straight HM
stuff I heard that weekend.
-Mundo [to whom my additional thanks for the 2 photos below! (c) Nichola Reid 2008 ]