|Spring Tour 2012
Thanks to all who contributed reviews on this page. Sorry it wasn't posted until after the tour had finished :-(
Stamford Corn Exchange, 27th May 2012
Firstly, the venue was a small theatre, very nice, and all seating, which was probably appreciated by most of the
audience. Sold Out signs outside, which was good. The only disappointment of the night was that Mr Quimbyâ
€™s Beard were not supporting on this gig, and I would have liked to have seen them.
Onto the gig itself. I had high hopes for this, especially after the band had just released their best album in at least
30 years. The curtain drew back to reveal a 12ft high monster with glowing green eyes. Gave me quite a fright, I
can tell you. Mr Dibs intoning â€˜The Awakeningâ€™ whilst bowing an electric upright bass, that gave me quite a
fright too, and an ache in the pelvic region. A quick check around the stage revealed that all of the band were
present and correct. Is that Dead Fred on keyboards? Tim Blake gesticulating around his Theremin, nice!
Dave Brock glued to his guitar all night, marvellous. The band kicked off proper with â€˜Youâ€™d Better Believe
Itâ€™, and from then on we were treated to 1hr 45mins of sheer Cosmic Bliss. The sound was perfect; the bass
was sooo low, and Brocks guitar driving the band along. They played a large chunk of the new album, which was
fine by me, and the old favourites sounded fresher than ever. Credit really needs to be given to Mr Dibs. He is a
splendid vocalist and frontman, and the only singer who has done justice to the Calvert era material since Bob
himself. Highlights of the set were Prometheus, Assault and Battery, Where are they Now, too many to mention
really. Dancers were fantastic, with brilliant costumes such as the aforementioned 12ft Monster with green,
glowing eyes, and were always appropriate to the music. The encore was Silver Machine, and it really was a â
€˜hairs on the back of your neckâ€™ moment.
Dave Brock mentioned that â€˜Brianâ€™ was in the audience. I take it he meant Brian Tawn, as the gig was in his
neck of the woods. Anyone who has followed Hawkwind over the years owes a debt of gratitude to Brian, and
indeed, in this modern age to Starfarer himself. Thanks guys. And thanks to the band, who on this showing are
more vital and vibrant than ever, and long may this line-up continue. Onward flies the bird.
Another review from the same gig...
A lovely sunny Sunday evening, and it's onward to Stamford to see Hawkwind on their, er...Onward Tour
promoting the wonderful new album. After a 2 hour drive out of darkest Norfolk and into deepest Lincolnshire,
the car is satisfyingly parked up just across the road from the venue...how good is that?! An hour or so to kill
before the doors open, so it's a leisurely wander around the town which proves to be an archetypal sleepy English
market town, many of the buildings being constructed from beautiful honey coloured limestone; well worth a
look. A proper old fashioned, sit down, fish and chip shop is decided upon for food requirements, and very good
it is too. This followed by a pint in a pub opposite the theatre and we're all set for a space rockin' night.
The Corn Exchange Theatre is a 1930s-ish building, all very nice and art deco...and also all seated, which seems a
bit strange. I don't think I've ever sat and watched Hawkwind perform in all of the 30 years I've followed the
band. So it's lean back, relax and take in the show. Support band this evening are the Maria Daines Band who
provide a solid half hours worth of bluesy rock to get us in the mood.
Hawkwind come on stage at 8.30 commencing with a wash of sound FX and Dibs reciting The Awakening. This
then morphs into Better Believe It, one of my favorites, but which for me lacked a certain energy tonight...maybe
I'm still getting used to this sitting down lark! Hills Have Ears, one of my favorite new songs which really drives
along with a typical Hawkwind rhythm and chord structure is followed by Seasons, also from Onward. Dibs then
recites another poem (which I assume is Rites of Neatherworld, according to the Starfarer set list). Mr Brock
then steps up to take on vocal duties on another song from Onward, namely The Prophecy. This is a lot heavier
than the album version and works pretty well. New floaty synth instrumental Southern Cross is next, then
Hassan-i- Sahba (isn't it time to give this one a rest, surely?). Love In Space (excellent version) and then aural
abuse with Sonic Attack precedes another Dibs poem recitation...not sure of the title (listed as Hi-Tech Cities on
Starfarer but the words are completely different to the song of that name found on Dave Brock's Agents of Chaos
The Indian feel of Prometheus commences to takes us off on what proves to be a superb climax to the set;
Assault And Battery, Golden Void, Where Are They Now and Damnation Alley; the band are really flying on these
last numbers. Brilliant! Throughout the show the excellent dancers perform at various points, my favorite routine
still being the arm thing they do during Prometheus. One slight quibble; why was Dead Fred set up so he
obscured Richard Chadwick's complete drum kit? I know it wasn't the largest stage in the world, but really!?
Oh, and Dib's new black space-age skeleton cello was cool; I want one...and is it really fretted or were those fret
line inlays. Something to ponder over on the drive home. Just time for a quick blast through Silver Machine as the
encore and we find it's 10.20 and we're outside in the cool half dark of an early summer night, the music still
ringing in our ears and smiles on our faces as we set the navigation computer's controls for home.
Buckley Tivoli, 1st June 2012
I saw the band at the Tiv in Buckley last night I was very very impressed. I'm hoping Dave keeps this set of
musicnauts together because they've got it all. The set list was, I think, the same as the previous sets listed for
this tour except that The Prophecy had been dropped and the encore included both Psychedelic Warlords (really
good version) and Silver Machine (dedicated by Mr Dibs to his Mum, and featuring Richard on vocals).
I always get a bit twitchy when someone other than Robert Calvert attempts the space poetry thing but Mr Dibs
nailed The Awakening, as well as doing the best Sonic Attack since Space Ritual. After the opening poem the band
launched into Better Believe It, stretching out the song with new bits in the middle and sounding heavier than I've
ever heard them. The hooshing noises and synthesiser swirls were at the level of 'classic' 70's Hawkwind, but I
think the present day band brings a higher level of musicianship to the proceedings.
Dave didn't sing much, which is a shame, but this did allow Mr Dibs to be the front man, which for me, was a
revelation. I had thought he was a bass guitarist who just did a bit of singing, but he is a very good lead vocalist
and did a great job as front man. Loved the electric cello too. Without giving a blow by blow description of the
whole set, the highlights for me were Seasons, Southern Cross, Cities, and Assault/Void/Where are you now.
The back projections matched both the musical and lyrical content of Seasons perfectly, and that riff is an
absolute juggernaut, so the song became this whole multi dimensional experience. Southern Cross is just beautiful,
and Tim is possibly the coolest figure in space rock, looking like some kind of spectacled wizard. I didn't
recognise Cities, so i assume it's new, and I thought it was a really good song and hopefully something that will be
available on record sometime. The version of Assault and Battery/Golden Void was similar to the one on Palace
Springs (with the added bonus of Dave singing the 'where are you now' bit attached to the end). For me this more
punchy and spacy interpretation of these songs from WOTEOT has long ago taken over from the original as the
default version to listen to so hearing it live was bound to bring great joy.
Oh yeah and I forgot to mention Prometheus, another highlight, played pretty faithfully like the record, but those
ascending bass chords on the refrain sounding (feeling) even better live. It was exciting to see the band playing
so much new stuff, while doing justice to the classics, including an extended Damnation Alley (instead of
something like Angels of Death). While I probably haven't seen the band live as many times as a lot of fans, I've
witnessed a number of different line-ups and I think there was a creativity and spirit about this crew that puts
them right at the top. So well done to the lads.
Holmfirth Picturedrome, 3rd June 2012
Well onto the Hawkwind gig, as you know the backing band was the Nanobots, looked to be a him and her act
dressed in silver suits, she had a flashing headband and played guitar and the other one, a middle-aged grey-haired
Scots man announced to the audience that he normally plays guitar. But as his arm was in plaster he explained he
had broken his arm, his right arm. So he will be playing keyboards with his left hand and then announced to the
audience he will be singing lots of songs about robots and do we like robots? He then burst into the song
Spontaneous Human Combustion! After asking the audience if they knew what it was about, to silence, he then
laughed out loud. Well they shouldn't have bothered, bless 'em. As my mate said Hawkwind likes experimental
bands. They reminded me with his fast bizarre keyboard skills of being a weird Devo.
Ah well, smoke break. Stood outside and Mr Niall Hone popped out and I remarked to him that he certainly fits
into the band with his dexterity of being able to play the bass the guitar and synths. Reminds me of a pro
musician. Jason's standards. Anyway he then thanked me and popped back inside. I was then joined by Richard
Chadwick who partook in one of my smoke breaks and one of my smokes. Had a little chin wag about how I met
him and Bridgett in Leeds. I also remarked upon who filled the gap when Simon King left...certainly not
Thompson or Griffiths but your good self Mr. Richard Chadwick... Anyway he spent five minutes with me which
was nice and said he would meet me again in Manchester for their Christmas gig.
Right, on with the gig. I liked the Picturedrome in Holmfirth as it seems to be a very old cinema with upstairs
circles of two floors. I sat at the top with a great view as the lights dimmed you had the what I call the War of the
Worlds sound, a droning deep bass tone that loops, and flashing lights in time to the sound. The dancers and their
costumes have certainly gone up several notches and I feel they needed a lot more room than was available. Dead
Fred accompanied Tim Blake on keyboards, Dave Brock was in the shadows for most of the show and so was
Dibs' voice has got more powerful and I do like the song he wrote, Seasons. I am starting to get over Alan
Davey's departure, the three people I went with totally enjoyed it. Funny, because at one stage there was a group
of young kids ranging from 9 to 14 with their parents or should I say Dad, and we had a crack with them and
some of them had seen them before. Nice to see, you know.
I feel as though I should see Hawkwind at every opportunity, I will definitely be at the next gig will be in
December at Manchester...because what are we going to do, and I hate to say it, when Dave Brock goes, the
job's fucked. We should grab every chance we can to see him before that day happens. Sorry for being so
negative here but when we lost Frank Zappa, it has never been the same. Yes you still listen to them but no more
live concerts for anybody.
A couple of fan shots at the end, photo contributor Mr. Tommy Blikeng being the hap on the left, there.
These are the dancers, not loony fans fighting...
|Thanks to Tommy Blikeng, who provided all the
photos on this page. They are from from the gig at
Cork Pavilion, 28th May 2012
The line-up for this gig and all the others on the
tour was Dave Brock, Richard Chadwick, Mr.Dibs,
Niall Hone, Tim Blake and guesting onstage for the
first time sine 1984, Dead Fred Reeves