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Hawkwind - At The Roundhouse CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 2 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars May 26th 2017: after many years, Hawkwind returned to London's legendary Roundhouse, a venue which they'd last played in 1977, with Motorhead in support and where the initial recording of "Silver Machine" had been made a few years earlier. The cynical will already be thinking "nostalgia trip(!)" ... but read on, because there's more to it than that ....

The date captured here was part of Hawkwind's "Into The Woods" tour and features a new line up, with Haz Wheaton coming in on bass and Magnus Martin on keyboards & synths, the band also augmented by Michal Sosna on saxophone. Mr Dibs (vocals & electronics) and Richard Chadwick (drums & vocals) are also onboard as Captain Brock leads spaceship Hawkwind on our flight into time & space.

On earlier dates of the tour, Hawkwind had played a four or five number acoustic set to open the shows, but here, Phil Campbell's Bastard Sons played support, so the acoustic content is pared back to three number, the first being "Ascent" from the (then) just released "Into The Woods" album. The next couple of tracks will be more familiar to long standing Hawk-watchers, although perhaps not as played here: "We Took The Wrong Step Years Ago" and "The Watcher" both adapt superbly to their new arrangements, the latter being particularly poignant - it was a signature tune for Lemmy, after all ... the band then takes an intermission

Hawkwind return with a full electric set, starting with an (uncredited) "Earth Calling" leading into "Born To Go", a vintage slice of primal blanga, which also includes a section of "You Shouldn't Do That" in it's current arrangement; the pace drops momentarily for Mr Dibs' reading of "First Landing (On Medusa)" then we're off again with "You Better Believe It", another UA/Lemmy-era Hawk classic. I wasn't at this gig, but at the Worthing gig I did attend, the place was bouncing by now ... this is the right stuff, baby, the right stuff!

More recent tracks "Earthbound", "Have You Seen Them" & "Vegan Lunch" follow - all good, solid stuff from "Into The Woods" - before the band goes time travelling again, back to "Astounding Sounds ..." for a really rather wonderful "Steppenwolf", where Dibs proves to be a master interpreter of the late Robert Calvert's words, the band absolutely nailing this one, too

"Darklands" (from "Into The Woods") follows, then we're back to "Warrior On The Edge Of Time" with "Magnu" and "Golden Void" - both timeless classics, both expertly played. This generation of the band really does seem plugged right into what many consider as Hawkwind's finest hour.

As the set draws to a close, more recent songs "Synchronised Blue"; "Deep Canyon"; "Into The Woods" & "The Machine" illustrate perfectly that Hawkwind, 2017 style, was far more than a nostalgia act - these are all strong numbers from records which made the UK album charts. "Welcome to the future", indeed!

The main set closes with "Welcome" - just as "Space Ritual" did, a heady 45 years before this release ... but after this performance, you just know they'll be back for more ... which they do

For their two song encore, Hawkwind invite Phil Campbell to join them (another Lemmy/Motorhead connection!) as they set about "Brainbox Pollution" and then close with "Silver Machine" - both songs bearing the indelible stamp of Mr Kilmister in original form. Can't think of many other bands who would encore with a non-album B-side (which "... Pollution" is/was) but it works!

So, that's the track listing covered: the question is, does the world really need ANOTHER live album from Hawkwind, as it's not too long ago (2014) the band released their "Space Ritual" revisited set? What's the point?

The point is this is a new line up and the set list includes some strong material from two excellent recent releases ("The Machine Stops" and "Into The Woods") as well as some highly charged performances of bona fide classics from previous generations of a long lived band. The sound quality is pretty good, although the DVD is filmed from a single camera at a fixed location: arguably, what you might have seen had you been at the gig, as opposed to the multi-angle films which are usually released - a point of contention among some folks I know

As a document of a Hawkwind show in 2017 and with performances as strong as these, then absolutely yes, this would make a great addition to anyone's collection - in terms of performance quality, it's within an ace of the original "Space Ritual" from '73, with the added bonus of the light show on the DVD version. Can't think of a better way to bring a Hawkwind show to your home, short of actually booking the band to play.

Speaking personally, I would "leave no star unturned" and go the full five - for Hawkfans, it really is essential : "Welcome to the neo-golden age, Welcome to the days you've made, You are welcome ... " - but not everyone IS a Hawkwind fan, so four stars for the casual Prog Archives reader seems the fairest outcome ...

RSC | 4/5 |


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