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Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars Having recently posted a review of a later Hawkwind DVD where I was critical of Huw Lloyd-Langton's contribution [Out Of The Shadows], I thought I would reset the balance with this film of an excellent concert from 1986. Filmed in Preston (UK), it is a snapshot of the band during a little brightspot in the mid 80s. This is mid-period Hawkwind at the top of their game - hot, pumping and full of energy.

Here is an awesome band - tight and powerful with all members pulling their weight. Huwie is right up to speed with some scintillating fast and extended guitar runs that at times leap out and grab you while at others blend in with the wall of sound. His contribution seals this as a superb performance, though Brock's distinctive rhythm guitar, traditionally a key component of the band's signature sound, is all too often submerged by more dominant instruments. Musically, though, this is right up there with the best of them.

Presentation, however, lets it down rather. I am reviewing from the DVD version, but there isn't much difference from the original VHS edition. Sound is adequate for its age, generally quite raw and 'punkish', though drum acoustics could be better and there are a couple of mistakes from the mixing desk. A little distortion creeps in occasionally, but nothing to worry about and at least it has plenty of appropriate welly!

Visuals are less successful. The video transfer means low quality images, a problem exacerbated by a rather overly murky stage. However, there's plenty to see, with wooden dancers [at least they are colourful], fire eaters, dry ice, back projection images and psychedelic lighting adding to some camera effects to keep the interest, though for me the cameras dwell on the back projections for far too long. The lack of a bona-fide frontman is sorely felt, but at least Brock spends most of the show front-of-stage.

After the successful Chronicle Of The Black Sword album & show, here the band have returned to basics with a cross-section of old favourites, all of which are performed with gusto. Arrangements are generally familiar for the period, but all are excellent performances without exception, even the frenetic thrash that is 'Brainstorm' and Harvey's Dalek version of Sonic Attack. The only less familiar tracks are 'The Blood Of Man', a shortish melodic instrumental that would later turn up on the Xenon Codex album [as 'Lost Chronicles'], and Huw's 'Dreaming City' which debuted in the live Chronicles show the year before.

An overall score is rather difficult: the musical performance is brilliant; visual performance is average; presentation poor [especially when considering a short running time and criminal and inexplicable fading of three tracks]. I love it for the music, and my rating reflects this. If you are able to forgive the indiscretions and inadequacies [and the risible dancers] then I would heartily recommend Chaos as an excellent example of Hawkwind at their best.

Report this review (#117878)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now this hawkwind dvd is good stuff,prepeare to be sucked dry,it starts with magnu which is a good version with good guitar and bass and drums well everything in fact nice to see huw lloyd langton playing well here as when hes on form he truely can play good and same goes for angels of death hawkwind on great form here every member playing really how they should i think angels of death is probably one of the best tracks on here,and the version of assault and battery isnt as good as original but is still a great version the blood of man is a track of xenon codex [lost chronicles i hink] played by harvey bainbridge and is quite a nice track but thing is the film like fades out[not in bad way and goes into master of the universe which is a good version of master with the band on great form soundiong powerful abit like angels of death,dreaming city by langton and this calms things down abit with langton on great form and with a film in concert background been like old cartoon [black and white[not a bad thing,its nice to hear and see hawkwind play this song a great track,utopia starts with langton guitar and then the singing comes in and this sounds great with brock singing good here[i think brock has a good singing voice as you can understand what hes singing] this track is great stuff and the bainbridge bit is great to hear this track is enjoyable stuff everyone on great form,and brainstorm a good welcome to see this as brock chats for few seconds then they all start playing and this is just as good as angels of death or better although the dancers to me look out of place but they dont look to bad, but they look like there enjoying thereselves so thats good, anyway hawkwind playing great here every member sounding great and enjoying there selves this just plays for the longest track on this dvd and thats a great thing to everything here just sounds great though it does fade out and gets into bainbridge playing keyboards,and the band playing great here and brock sings the brainstorm lyrics this sounds great and it ends with brock saying good night,then sonic attack comes in and with lagton lighting a cigf,and bainbridge saying the sonic attack bit with a voice effect witch sounds good to with fire breathers coming on stage and this version of sonic attack isnt the best version but its still a good version,assassins of allah is great with davey on vocals and he really fits well to this track his voice really goes well with the music and after a little bit brock joins in and then it back to davey singing the main bit again a great version of assassins to then it all ends and about hour long its a great dvd tp put on if got hour spare and if you like hawkwind this is great stuff and is enjoyable stuff to,i would say the dvd comes straight from video as the quality is like that but its not noticeable really just maybe i,m fussy but the sound quality is great this is i think one of the best hawkwind dvds around this a great stuff.4 stars.
Report this review (#264060)
Posted Tuesday, February 2, 2010 | Review Permalink

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