The first band I ever saw live were Hawkwind. It was the Autumn of 1980 and the ‘Levitation’ tour came to the Colston Hall in Bristol. The line up that night was Dave Brock, Harvey Bainbridge, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Tim Blake and (honest guv) Ginger Baker on drums. I often look back and think I was spoilt by that for a first gig and didn’t really realise how special a band it was, and especially what an icon Baker was.
I’ve been a fan ever since, although not a disciple (of which there are many), I’ve seen them half a dozen times over the years, sometimes great, sometimes not so. Last night saw the latest line-up playing at the end of my street, so I had to go of course.
With lead vocals being taken now by Mr Dibs the band’s ever changing face sees long standing drummer Richard Chadwick and 74 year old Dave Brock joined by young bassist Haz Wheaton and a keyboard/guitars chap who might have been Niall Hone?
This was a great set that took in a lot of classic material, the band performed really well. Dave is looking well for an old git, and played well to all the other old gits in the crowd (of which I am one). The light show was everything you would expect from Hawkwind (see pics below) and the band sounded like classic era Hawkwind, with extended jams and all those classic riffs. Mr Dibs was giving it what for on the ring modulators and other expected sound effects.
Haz Wheaton took centre stage and plays bass like a proper rock monster, he is as much a Lemmy style bassist as you could hope for, battering seven shades out of a Rickenbacker and strumming huge power chords for much of the set. Sometimes switching to a Fender for a spot of subtlety, his musicianship impressed me. Kudos to you Haz, you’re up there.
Two disappointments in this show. Firstly the sound was not great, it’s a problem that this particular venue suffers from, I’ve never seen a show there where they got it right. In this case the vocals were suffering. Volume too low, with all the crispness and clarity of lettuce, it did spoil an otherwise good show. Secondly I had been led to believe (erroneously it seems) that Tim Blake was in this line up. Hone, or whoever it was, did a reasonably good job, but Tim Blake is Tim Blake innit?
They’re playing Bristol in May so I may well go again and see what happens. I didn’t get the whole set list down but here’s most of what I remember:
Assault And Battery, On The Edge Of Time, Utopia, Time We Left This World Today, Into The Woods, Hassan I Sabbah, Robot, Shot Down In The Night. There were more and I think they may have done ‘You Know You’re Only Dreaming’, or I might have been only dreaming?
The four encores were:
Spirit Of The Age, Brainbox Pollution, (something else here), Silver Machine