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Andy Long Bass Player

Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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Progressive rock

Hawkwind at The Neon, Newport, March 2017

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

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Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman at Cardiff

ARW at Cardiff

I’ve been a Yes fan for longer than I care to remember, (although there are plenty who’ve been at it longer than me). I bought my first two Yes albums second hand off a boy in school who didn’t like them. They were ‘Time And A Word’ and ‘Tomato’. An interesting pair to start with.

I first saw them live in Birmingham NEC on the 90125 tour in the early ’80’s. Lasers, tilting stage. Bugs Bunny Cartoons.  I’ve seen them a lot of times since then in a lot of forms. Last night saw the latest incarnation of Yes/Not Yes playing their debut show in Cardiff, so unsurprisingly I was there.

With Jon, Rick and Trevor were go-to prog bassist Lee Pomeroy and American drummer and Rabin cohort Louis Molino III.  This was a much anticipated set amongst progrock diehards and did not disappoint.  It was great to see and hear Jon singing Yes material again. I’ve enjoyed the recent tours of the current Yes line-up but Jon’s voice is a unique enigma.

Rabin and Wakeman play really well together, despite not having been in Yes together (with the exception of Union). Trevor is an almighty rock guitarist, wailing solos and lightning fast runs are peppered liberally throughout his playing. He’s very different to Steve Howe and if anything I missed Steve’s classical, virtuosic sensibility, Trevor gave the material a very different sound, but it worked well.

Rick Wakeman, resplendently caped, was stunning as always, effortlessly (or so it seemed) flowing through the material, flitting around amongst numerous keyboards and even going for a stroll in the audience with a keytar, whilst Trevor went up the adjoining isle and met him at the back for a barrage of selfies.

Moulino and Pomeroy were a fantastic rhythm section together, I’ve seen Lee play with Rick previously and last night the band paid tribute to Chris Squire and Lee played a beautiful arrangement of ‘The Fish’, recreating that familiar Rickenbacker klank perfectly.

If you’re the kind of person who gets off on set lists I think I’ve got this right:

Cinema, Perpetual Change, Hold On, All Good People, Lift Me Up, And You And I, Rhythm Of Love, Heart Of The Sunrise, Changes, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish, Awaken, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, (enc) Roundabout

Excellent show, hope I get to see the next one, whoever is in it.

John Wetton and Deke Leonard

Sad to see the passing away of two more great names from the rock world this week, bass legend John Wetton and Welsh guitar great Deke Leonard.

John Wetton is one of those names that has always been there for me, so many of the band he played with over the years have been, and always will be, amongst my favourite listens, albums that are on constant replay in my life.

I bought the first Asia album on picture disc vinyl when it was released in 1982 and his work with King Crimson marks my favourite era of the band (although I love all their stuff.

The riff to ‘Great Deceiver’ is still mind blowing.

Deke Leonard, though less known, was nonetheless a long standing key member of Man for most of their career, just a few breaks here and there, and featured on the majority of Man albums.

Whilst Man have not been a band that I’ve listened to a lot over the years, thy are undoubtedly iconic here in Wales and I really enjoy the few albums that I do own, notably ‘Rhinos, Winos And Lunatics’ and ‘Slow Motion.

 

 

Three Prog Rock Tracks For Hallowe’en

Here’s a few of my favourite creepy songs for your weekend playlist. Enjoy!

  1. Van Der Graaf Generator ‘Darkness (11/11)

Lyrics

How could you make a list, even such a small list as this, without including Van Der Graaf Generator?  Hard to choose which song to include but this is a pretty scary moment, even for them.

Wicked little Scorpio, doomed to die a thousand times before he lives!

2. Atomic Rooster ‘Death Walks Behind You’

Lyrics

One of my favourite bands for years, probably their best album, with William Blake’s ‘Nebuchadnezzar adorning it’s front cover. A moment of genius from Vincent Crane.

3. Genesis ‘The Musical Box

 

Lyrics

Peter Gabriel in one of his more disturbing moments tells the story in which Cynthia knocks off Henry’s head with a croquet mallet, from there on it it gets more twisted and bizarre until both are killed by the nanny.

Feel free to add your own recommendations to the list

 

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