Winter 2009 Tour

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Southampton Brook, Wednesday 09/12/2009                                              [above pic by GarethDorset]
Well what a night that was.

Firstly as I entered The Brook I saw Kris and quickly found out that Huw was going to be playing which
was great news so the rush was then to the merchandise stand.

Alas, no CD's. The new Hoodie was there, which is a fruit of the Loom affair. Neat embroidered logo on
the left breast with the tour dates printed on the back. Cost £25. Quality ok for the money. It's not
Berghaus but it's affordable. I'll say no more as we all have different standards. I bought one.  There was
also a selection of tee shirts as per Porchester plus the 40th Anniversary naked lady on a black shirt with
the tour dates on the back and the British Tribal Music shirt with the same in blue, for £15.  For those
with cold heads you could even get a Hawkwind beanie hat for £10.

Ok, onto Huw. He came on and did a few numbers solo. I don't know his solo work that well but he
started with Outside the Law, also included Rocky Paths, played a few more and was then joined on stage
by DB and RC. They played a blues number, Rolling and Tumbling, with DB on harmonica. The rest of
the band came on and they went straight into Hurry On Sundown.

After this Huw left the stage leaving the rest on stage. They went almost straight into Lighthouse. . This
was followed by Fahrenheit 451, Sentinel, Space, Angels of Death, Silver Machine. At this point I was
just lost in the groove of the gig. The projections started off really well and included the awesome bike
during Silver Machine. Unfortunately The Brook is a sweat lodge when the energy flows and it appears
that the projector overheated again. So after this we had intermittent projections. They should be great as
usual and should work in a larger venue.

They continued without the usual walk off stage hide around the corner and come back for an encore due
to the restrictions of the stage. I remember them playing You'd Better Believe It at some point. The final
two if I remember right, which would have formed the encore, were Levitation and Assassins of Allah.  
In actual fact, the set list was:

1- Hurry on Sundown (with Huw and all the band except Niall as an intro song)
2- Lighthouse
3- Fahrenheit 451
4- Sentinel
5- Space is Deep (read by Dave)
6- Angels of Death
7- Silver Machine
8- Green Machine (an instrumental)
9- Wraith
10- Prometheus
11- Magnu
12- Tide of the Century (it's a Tim Blake number)
13- You'd Better Believe It
14- Levitation
15- Assassins of Allah

The band were in a jovial mood and quite chatty with DB talking about what the dancers would be doing
during the twiddly bits between tracks as they couldn't use them here. Sound was good. Niall and Dibsy
on bass together was awesome. Backed with DB'S driving rhythm it really drifted towards the blanga
moments from the past.

I hung around after wanting to meet them and get my Porchester bag signed but only met Huw and
Richard. Richard confirmed that our lack of encore was due to the stage set up which is fair. No update
on Hawkfest unfortunately. I didn't meet the rest as they appeared to be on the lash upstairs and settled in
for the night. Guess I'll just have to see them again and try.

Some guy, who looked a bit off his head if I may so, had come in with a bag full of shredded paper. As
he was dancing he would throw this around. He was spoken to by security about it. After this he moved
towards where Dibsy was playing and at one point he was passing the stuff onto stage for him which
Dibsy kindly threw out into the crowd. After the place thinned out I was hanging around to see if the
band would come out for a beer which often happens here. The guy had been kept in the building , given
a sweeping brush and was made to sweep the floor of all the crap he had been throwing out. I spoke to
the security guy who said he offered him the option of being thrown out when he first started as he was
annoying people or stay behind after and clean up. Obviously he chose the latter.  Made me chuckle and
maybe you had to be there.

Those who will be seeing them over the next couple of weeks are in for a real treat. I'll just have to wait
till next year.  I just hope they are recording off the sound board with the intention of putting out a set of
CD's covering the gigs from this tour. If the remainder are as good as this was the rest will be blinding.

-Witchwood                                                                                            
[below pic by GarethDorset]
Cambridge Junction, Thursday 10/12/20099                                             
Full house last night at the Junction gave the gig an intensity and excitement I haven't seen since the 80's  
the last couple of Hawkwind gigs in my home town of Norwich  were sparsely attended and dull in
comparison. Dave Brock seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself, the inclusion of classic songs I
personally had never seen live before, i.e.; Levitation, Magnu and You'd better believe it, all added to the
sense of occasion. Also, the spoken word segments segued into various songs worked to enhance the
overall spectacle, sadly, not always the case. The lightshow, of course, with its customary synapse
snapping sensory overload, may also have something to do with it. The only downside was missing the
encore due to having to get the train back to Norwich.  If the encore was Master of the Universe, an all
time favourite, and one I haven't heard for many a year live, well, I may be just a tad cross.
[I've got bad
news for you, Sandro...]

-Sandro Cecchini                 [pics by GarethDorset]
It’s almost traditional; rounding the year off with a Hawkwind gig. I must say firstly thanks to the
Hawks for coming a little further east this time around. Had someone read my moans on an earlier
review?! The Junction is a venue I think is especially suited to a band like Hawkwind. It has a good feel to
it and, as it is not huge, everyone gets a good view but the place still has the headroom to put in a good
size backdrop and projection show.

Support from Arthur Brown was suitably crazy and certainly entertaining. I was particularly impressed
with young Steve, his organist.

The Hawks kind of drifted on stage. There seemed to be a little uncertainty as to whether the gig had
actually started, I felt. The synth intro to Lighthouse seemed to last for a fair amount of time as Dave and
Niall, seemingly unhappy with something, came and went from the stage and signalled to each other and
the stage crew until eventually they too joined in with the song playing thier respective instruments. Not
sure what that was all about! By putting Lighthouse first it felt as though the starship Hawkwind was just
easing out of dock before setting off on it’s trip into deep space by upping the tempo with Fahrenheit
451.

The sound was a bit mushy early on but was improved upon as the band went into Sentinel. This has
evolved into a strong song now and was most enjoyable. Angels of Death was excellent and was the first
time the band really started to fly, although, I still can’t see the point of the two bass guitars; it doesnâ
€™t add anything dynamically to the sound. I must admit, and no disrespect meant towards Niall, I’m
still trying to figure out Mr Hone's job within the musical structure of the band; two basses is pointless
and he doesn’t play lead guitar or it can’t be heard anyway which I realise wouldn't be his fault. If
he was there to play rhythm guitar while Dave played lead parts, it would make more sense, but this
doesn’t seem to happen.

The next high point of the night for me was Prometheus which had an Indian / trance sort of vibe to it.
The band had played this at St Albans in May but I must admit it had just seemed OK then. Now it was
superb, especially with the addition of violin from the Levellers Jon Sevink who was along as guest for the
tour. Again, I’m not sure what was going on between Dave, Dibs and Niall, but Dave certainly seemed
unhappy at the length of the improvisation during Prometheus, and stopped playing, folding his hands
behind his back and waiting until the the song moved back towards the last verse before starting to play
his guitar again. The latter half of the show really took off, however; Magnu, You’d Better Believe It,
Levitation and Hassan-I-Sahba particularly hitting
the spot, again with soaring violin from Jon taking
it all to another level. On the whole then, a good
show which I felt reinforced the argument for a
proper lead player; Jon Sevnik added so much
more interest and dynamics with his violin playing
which Hawkwind lack unless Dave takes on lead
guitar duties a bit more prominently. Can’t wait
to hear the new songs finally recorded as well.

-Tim Chipping           
Manchester Academy, Friday 11/12/2009
Just got up and nearly recovered from last night…  I was a bit worried as what the gig would be like,
having seen the set list was very similar to the past year’s gig without Right to Decide and Who’s
Gonna Win the War, but was impressed with some new jams in between songs: and Jon on violin made a
massive difference.  You’d Better Believe It was 10/10.

The dancers were professional and the projections nice and clear. We got Spirit of the Age and Assassins
for the encore with a great dancey middle section again.

Saw a few forum members and plenty of Porchester t-shirts on show, even ended up next to the people I
swapped prezzies with at Porchester, how strange!  But highlight of the night was spending time with the
lovely Julia!  And getting to hear a violin live again...

All in all a good gig and look forward to it again on Sunday.

-Alan                                                                                                 
[Below: pics by Wayne Rodwell]
London Shepherds Bush Empire, Sunday 13/12/2009
Not long back from my 2nd fix of Hawkwind at the Empire.  I went to Manchester and I thought they
were both really good gigs.  I like Captain Rizz and he seemed to go down well where we were standing,  
Assassins did seem a bit more energetic with him on stage with the dancers…the middle of the crowd at
the front turned into a mosh / dance pit so he must have done something right. (Assassins is an excellent
encore, especially with the dancey part…)

The heavy bass sound was very welcome - did anybody notice that Niall played bass on at least three
numbers as well as Dibs?  (MAYBE THAT’S WHY IT SOUNDED LOUD, JIMSKI!!)  Dibs did seem
to be a bit throaty, his singing was a little lower in pitch but Sentinel and Prometheus have come a long
way since August and I had those two tunes in my head all the way home.

It was a similar set to Manchester but with Spirit of the Age and Right to Decide added, so that was good
not seeing the two same sets.  To comment on the track listing – yes, it has been similar all year but
some of the jams in between songs were top notch and sounded very fresh and Niall seemed to be a lot
more melodic instead of playing just rhythm.  Minor complaint: Silver Machine could have been spoken
instead of Space Is Deep and where did the dancers’ dreadlocks go?  Still fit though!!!  
[Dirty boy]

The venue was better set up than the Astoria but I thought once again there must be bigger venues to play
with the crowd they can still draw.  I also noticed the merchandise was flying out the door again - thereâ
€™s a lesson to be learned, put some new stuff up and the fans will buy it.  And lastly, another mention to
the great support, they went down really well again
.
So that’s halfway through the tour and the end of a very good year for my seeing Hawkwind.  Letâ
€™s hope there are plenty of gigs in 2010.

-Alan                                                                                                 
[Below: pics by Wayne Rodwell]
I was quite snippy about last year's Christmas show at the Astoria but in retrospect I think that was
because I hadn't seen them live for much longer than I had thought and had missed the progressive
changes to the live experience. Now I have caught up with them and with every Hawkwind album and
reissue available, I feel that I can review it better. Unfortunately I left it a couple of days and the titles of
the songs I loved most have faded from memory…                    
[the next batch of 11 photos by Andrew]
Anyway, it started off with Lighthouse and went into a more upbeat song [Fahrenheit 451] after a few
minutes. I was initially on the right hand side as it was very full by the time we had extricated my car
from the execrable Westfield car park which I was convinced would trap my car overnight and moved it
into the free on-road after 8pm parking. (This was the last night of that, as from the day after it is
resident’s code G permit only FOREVER!) We got in at about 8:40, missing Arthur Brown and just in
time for the 8:45 start that the Spurs fans in the excellent Patio Polish Restaurant had promised us.
Anyway, the sound the was a terrible muddy bass throb (which I quite liked actually) but as the gig
progressed I moved over towards the middle taking the opportunity to hop into every space left by
someone going to the bar until after 20 minutes or so I was pretty central (as you can see from the
photos). For some reason the crowd also became less dense through the gig but as it was crammed I
have no idea where anyone could have gone! As soon as I moved out of the shadow of the bass stack I
came into range of the treble speakers and the sound became truly excellent. I was just far enough back
to be out of the six row mosh pit which started for the encore. I'm too old for that these days (except at
Gogol Bordello, oddly)
So, the gig in summary. The dancers came on several times. They were pretty good, and from the couple
of times they were unmasked, very pretty. I think there was a bit of flu around from a Mr. Dibs
comment and a mutter from Mr. Brock about Mr. Dibs being able to sing. Dave laughed quite a few
times (although he didn't sing much) and commented upon life and the gig quite chattily. Dibs did
eventually sing some later songs reasonably well as did the drummer (I don't even know who he was).
There was a second geezer (the only word for him) on the right who played a second bass, sometimes
guitar and manned the laptop. He seemed pretty happy too (although not as happy as Al Barrow, the
perma-grinning Magnum Bassist). Tim wailed a bit and Dave sang some choruses. The Violinist (who
was introduced) was wicked and you could hear really well, especially on the Hassan-i-Sahba intro. The
sound was great and I would buy an album of the gig in a flash. The only downside was Captain Rizz
who came on and shouted through Spirit of the Age and Hassan-i-Sahba in the encore. Can't see the point
of him at all, sorry. Just before the end of the main set, they got into the best groove ever playing It's So
Easy or something (I am crap on song names - there are so damn many)
[it was You'd Better Believe It]
that went on for possibly ten minutes and was AWESOME (a nice popular North American word for you
to feel at home with, Vegas Boy).
[I come from South London, you cheeky git]
So, that's it until I see the set listing by which time I will have forgotten I said I would do anything. I
absolutely loved the gig and it makes up a teeny bit for being on holiday for Ladbroke Grove back in
August.  I also bought a tee-shirt as they were only £15 which is a steal at gigs these days - other bands
take note!  And Having read the “sweat lodgeâ€� remark from Southampton I should also note that
there was a cooling breeze coming down the front all the way through the Shepherd’s Bush gig. Very
pleasant.

-Andrew
Bristol Academy, Monday 14/12/2009
No gig review as yet but this selection of photos
from Bristol was kindly provided by GarethDorset...
...with one exception.  The Hawkwind backdrop
photo (above) was taken by Wayne Rodwell at
Southampton Brook on 9/12/2009.  Cheers Wayne!

(Anyone who'd like to write a review, please email it
to me
here - I thank yew!)
Glasgow ABC, Friday 18/12/2009                                      Photo below (c) Ron Wright 2009 - thx Ron!
Hawkwind come back to Scotland at the end of a tour for a change and we get the band really cooking,
with the show down to perfection. First time at the ABC and it is a good venue with plenty of room and
more importantly the sound was spot on.

Some people have felt the Lighthouse is a poor opener but it was played really well, building slowly and
reaching a peak. Great opener and more importantly the band are spot on as are the dancers and
projections. Set list is the same so I will not bore people by going over it again. Stand out tracks were
Angels of Death, Magnu, Silver Machine. Spirit of the Age and Tide of the Century. The new tracks
continue to grow on me, in particular Prometheus which sounds a bit like late 60's Traffic with jangly
style guitars and hopefully we will have them on a new CDshortly.

Show stopper was You'd Better Believe It.  Cannot believe I first heard this 35 years ago and it is still an
outstanding track, what a great number to finish the set with. We only got Assassins as an encore due to
time restrictions, which was a pity as I was looking forward to Levitation.

Great show, fourth time in a year I have seem them and they keep getting better.  Hoping for a quick
return.

-Ron Wright
          These 3 photos were taken by Ron Wright
The following gig review and photos kindly supplied by Graham P, thx!
Support is Arthur Brown who plays a short but
well-received set accompanied by a guitarist,
keyboard player and synthetic rhythm tracks. He
still has a fabulous voice, still appears to be stark
raving mad in the nicest possible way and he has a
fine sense of drama – indeed he’s a bit over-
fond of the dressing up bit and performs as many
costume changes as songs. The set started with â
€œHard Rainâ€� (apparently modelled more on
Bryan Ferry’s version than the original),
including “I Put a Spell on You�, and closing
prematurely with “Fire� (due to an acoustic
set downstairs apparently, this being two venues in
one, Hawkwind billed against local heroes Hue &
Cry). No sooner had Arthur left the stage than Keith
and crew start arranging things for the Hawks –
Tim’s rig is on the right this time and Niall’s
computer on the left, and a large projection
screen above Richard’s kit.

The set kicks off with “Lighthouseâ€�– the sound is bottom heavy with little of Dave, Niall or Timâ
€™s playing audible from where I’m standing and it takes a while before things improve. â
€œFahrenheit 451â€� comes next: Dibs sings lead and completely changes the original vocal melody
(such as it was) to not very great effect. In fact the first half of the set (also featuring “Angels of
Deathâ€� (the two bass version), “Silver Machineâ€� and three Dibs numbers, of which only â
€œPrometheusâ€� really impresses) is rather perfunctory and it’s only once Leveller Jon Sevink takes
centre stage on violin that the performance begins to catch fire – and the band start to move around
instead of all remaining rooted to the spot. In fact, until this point, Dave has generally looked rather bored
but he gives an excellent performance on “Spirit of the Age�.

Next up the band conjure up the authentic sound of Warrior-era Hawkwind while Dibs reads some of
Moorcock’s words. The band then blast into a rousing “Magnu� (delivered as a medley with
something else I can’t quite place)
[I’ve heard it’s a snatch of Brainbox Pollution] – really
excellent. “Tide of the Century� provides some light relief (Niall plays bass on this one while Dibs
steps off stage) after which
the faithfully recreated violin intro adds a touch of
authenticity to a storming “You’d Better
Believe Itâ€�. The encore is the inevitable â
€œAssassinsâ€�, much improved by a genuine
violin intro.

The dancers and projections are excellent, the sound
and lightshow less so. The two bass arrangement of
“Angels of Deathâ€� is just horrible and, while Iâ
€™m having a moan, Richard and Dibs doubling
lead vocals (as on “You’d Better Believe Itâ
€�) is still no substitute for Dave’s singing.
Having a violin in the mix again is major plus point
and now that Simon House seems to have dropped
permanently out of sight the Hawks could do worse
than draft Jon into the ranks full-time. All said and
done, a thoroughly enjoyable concert.
I saw Hawkwind at Shepherds Bush Empire - a very good gig, when I saw the setlist from previous
dates on the tour I feared the worst- a *lot* of new/unfamiliar material, quite a shock after the "golden
oldie" sets of recent tours- but they put on a very fine show. Rather a 'different' experience in terms of
presentation as well- a fairly restrained lightshow, with far more emphasis on the back-projections, some
of which were really excellent, somebody a bit more techno-savvy has obviously got involved there.
Dancers were mostly quite good (shock) although the fabled Hawkwind Performance Art Cheesiness
Curse was in evidence during one routine which featured the dancers dressed as (ahem) giant silver
lobsters (to "Tide Of The Century", which at least turns out to be a much better song than most of Tim's
solo efforts- at least they way it was played at Shepherds Bush was pretty good, with the guest violinist
really adding a lot). I think there is a pic of this on your site. Other than that it was a very fine show - not
quite the primal soul elevation of the very best Hawkwind gigs, but genuine signs of further creative juice
in the tank, which I wouldn't have predicted. A bit sad that Dave Brock is limiting his lead vocals so
much -he still has by far the best voice in the band IMHO- but then maybe he wouldn't be sounding so
good if he was singing three-quarters of the set every night. In terms of older stuff, double whammy of
You Better Believe It and Levitation at the end of the main set totally hit the spot. Good stuff.

-Manfred Scholido
I was at the Brook, too, and this was the first time in years that I've not seen a winter tour in one of the
larger venues as well as a sweat box like this or Leeds Irish Club.  The ambience here is great, but it is a
bit pokey, and the stage restricts 'the show', if not the music.

So, the gig.  Huw remains a treasure, and god knows we're lucky still to have him.  The question has
been put here about the Hawks recording at the soundboard - the biggest issue is these sets by Huw, are
they getting captured at all.  He's been doing this for years in support to Hawk shows, and occasionally
gracing the main event with his genius (strong language that, spend 5 mins with your copy of 'Live 79' if
you disagree), and it cannot be beyond the possibility of modern technology to be getting these sets
recorded onto a hard drive at each event.  'Outside The Law' and 'Rocky Paths' were real gems, and then
a really bouncy finish with the two numbers with the band.

The Hawk set, then.  No dancers, and the projection pretty mangled, so concentrate on the music,
Krusty.  I have to say, I struggled with the opening - I didn't dig the 'Lighthouse', and thought the
'Farenheit 451' was dire.  Then there was some new stuff, from Mr. Dibs I understand, then a truly
thunderous, almost sinister 'Angels' absolutely fantastic, laden with menace.  But most intriguingly, Capt.
Brock appeared to be enjoying himself.  'Angels' followed by 'Silver Machine' was great fun.  Some of the
new tunes were pretty good - one from Tim, the name of which evades me, seems to stand out, looking
forward to getting this on record.  And the segue of 'Magnu' into 'Brainbox Pollution' was tasty too - but
I'm a complete sucker for the latter, such a great boogie.  Then we finished with I think 'Assassins' and
'Levitation', though it may have been the other way round, so obviously not total awesomeness, but I still
enjoyed myself.

I moved to Hampshire this summer, and was delighted that we got a gig on the tour at all, I'm not
complaining - and this venue is a major leap in the comfort and friendliness stakes from the Astoria,
where I used get my annual London fix.  But it was billed as a warm-up gig, and so it was - a bit of
polishing needed, and from what I can tell, got done before some of the other shows.  Still, I'm not
walking out of a Hawkwind show any time soon - unlike Foo Fighters or Ozrics.  And please, is someone
recording these sets by Huw?

-Krusty the Baker
Above: pic by GarethDorset