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Hawkwind - the Onward tour, UK & Eire

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Topic: Hawkwind - the Onward tour, UK & Eire
Posted By: sonic_assassin
Subject: Hawkwind - the Onward tour, UK & Eire
Date Posted: May 27 2012 at 08:39

Hawkwind will soon be entering their 43rd year of space trucking and it's customary for Hawkwind to take to the stage and produce some spacey effects. Tonight, Mr Dibs generated effects on his electric cello before narrating "The Awakening", the oldest track in the setlist. The band first did this Bob Calvert space poem in 1971, I believe.  Dibsy has his critics, but I think he's a good space poetry narrator, even if his dress sense does raise a few eyebrows, but more on that in a minute.

The distinctive strains of "You'd Better Believe it" then kicked in, and this is where I switched my pocket camera off and started bopping around by the right speaker stack.

My http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWfaoxJ3pGo" rel="nofollow - start-of-gig clip is on youtube , if you want to see how a 2012 show kicks off. Sound quality is rough, but it captures the 'feel' of the event quite well, I'd say.

The Hawkwind squad

Over the years, Hawkwind's line-up has seen more squad rotation than just about any other band: hell, even Rafael Benítez would be impressed.  This continues into individual gigs, too. At the Bridport gig, people further back from the stage might have thought the distorted wah-wah guitar riffing was coming from Dave Brock, but it was Nial Hone... and Brock made a "showcase" gesture with his arms at one point, as if to say "no, it's him doing it, folks!"

Incidently, Hone is the newest member – he joined in 2008, from the psychedelic prog band Tribe of Cro.

Dibsy would be playing bass on these tracks, but during other pieces, Hone would switch to bass duties, and Mr Dibs sometimes used a weird figure-of-eight object – an electric cello. Meanwhile Tim Blake generally plays keyboards or the theramin, but did the lead guitar on some tracks, on his keytar. Prior to the gig there were rumours of a surprise guest (what, rumours among Hawkwind fans? – wow) but as it turned out there weren't any.

Mr Dibs surprised a lot of us by coming onstage in a kind of black kilt, and chunky calf-high boots with arrays of silver buckles, and with bare legs showing!



The Hawkwind setlist

This current tour promotes the new studio album "Onward."  Naturally enough, there was some new stuff, some from that rather good "Onward" album, but older fans were comfortable with hearing the likes of Hassan i Sahba, Sonic Attack, Assault and Battery / Golden Void, Damnation Alley and Psychedelic Warlords – all of these dating from the "golden age of Hawkwind" in the 1970s.  Love in Space was a surprise return to the set, though, a Brock cosmic ballad from the mid 1990s.

One oddity is that the new album makes heavy use of dynamic range compression, and during "The Hills Have Ears" I was listening to Richard Chadwick's drumming and Nial Hone's guitaring, and I reflected that it sounded clearer live than it does on the studio album. Now, I call that weird.

And so the tour is under way...

Hawkwind's blend of old and new stuff was performed in a pretty high-energy way... and the band looked like they were enjoying themselves. No "first night nerves" then, or any loose bits; they looked well-prepared and just got on with the biz. The night was extremely hot in the other sense of the word, too, as most of us were sweating profusely.

Next stop for me is the Southampton gig in just over a week, and I'll be interested to see if there's any differences in the setlist or performance.  For now, I'll just say the Hawkwind legacy of space rock is still safe in Dave Brock's hands,




Replies:
Posted By: Hawkwise
Date Posted: May 27 2012 at 19:13
The One really BAD draw back from Now Living in Canada is missing the annual Hawkwind Tour  Heavy Sigh ............. 

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Posted By: sonic_assassin
Date Posted: May 28 2012 at 07:28
UPDATE

On the Hawkwind forum, a post of mine pointing to the above review received a reply from a shocked Steve Pond of Krankschaft, pointing out there WAS a guest - Dead Fred of Krankschaft.

In my photo above, he's the one in the baseball cap, just visible on the left ... and he's playing keyboards.

So that's a big "oops sorry" from me, then.


Posted By: sonic_assassin
Date Posted: June 14 2012 at 07:05
Southampton (4 June)

Having seen the opening night in Bridport earlier, it was fun to see the closing night of the tour. At Bridport, I was sober, whereas at Southampton I was fairly sozzled at the gig and royally hammered by the time I got back to my hotel at 2am. It took me two days to recover from the hangover.

As at the Bridport show, Huw Lloyd-Langton did the support act, and again Dave Brock joined him on stage on harmonica, and Richard Chadwick on drums, for one number.  I got some of that for youtube, and will post it tonight or Friday. Huw was in Hawkwind several times; 1970, then again in 1979, and again in 2001, and he always gets a good reception from the Hawkwind crowd.

Hawkwind's setlist was pretty much the same as the opening night, except that we had one extra track for the encore.... a little ditty called "Silver Machine" if anyone's heard of that one!

The mix was better here in that I could hear Dead Fred (Phillip Reeves) this time, and his keyboard work made the band sound somewhat more proggy than usual.  Again, there were no dancers - they seem only to have done their thing on the northern dates (and possibly the Ireland ones too).

Perhaps it's because he's getting on a bit, Dave Brock doesn't do as many vocals as in the old days, but he did quite a bit at this gig, including quite a lot of "Sonic Attack" - Mr Dibs did the rest, while scraping away on that electric cllo.

Unlike Bridport, this time I watched from further back, to see more of the overall lightshow - the backdrop visuals were mainly kaleidoscopic in appearance and used much fewer background film clips than usual.

I enjoyed the two gigs, and am now looking forward to seeing them at Carnglaze in September, if that show is confirmed!


Posted By: The-Winkler
Date Posted: June 17 2012 at 13:35
I seen them in Dublin a few weeks back, looks like the same set, great show haven't stopped playing them sinceSmile


Posted By: Withnail
Date Posted: August 10 2012 at 06:38
Wow is that the same Dead Fred that was in Inner City Unit?  I'm surprised he has joined the mothership given the spat between the Captain and Nik.


Posted By: Cloud Forest
Date Posted: August 13 2012 at 06:54
great news

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All Hail Geddy Lee!



Posted By: sonic_assassin
Date Posted: September 16 2012 at 10:22
Originally posted by Withnail Withnail wrote:

Wow is that the same Dead Fred that was in Inner City Unit?  I'm surprised he has joined the mothership given the spat between the Captain and Nik.

Yes, it was the same guy. I guess he wasn't viewed as 'contaminated' by old associations.

Incidently, I've posted an unusual video from the show, on youtube, showing Sonic Attack from three different cameras simultaneously. One camera's mine.



I think it's fun to watch!




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