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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Friday, 25 January 2013

LINK: Atomic Sunrise: a rare glimpse of David Bowie, Genesis and Hawkwind on the brink of stardom

Rex FeaturesIt's the missing film that captures David Bowie's transition from acoustic to electric star; the emergence of Genesis and Hawkwind; and the musical birth of the Seventies with the rise of glam, prog and heavy rock.

The Atomic Sunrise festival, held at the Roundhouse between 9 and 15 March 1970, was the direct consequence of the murderous events at Altamont the previous December. The Grateful Dead not only pulled out of that gig: they also withdrew from a scheduled appearance at the Roundhouse the following March, which left a week free to mount what was billed as “Seven Nights of Celebration” in a “Living Theatre Environment”.

Three bands were scheduled to play each night, many of them regulars at the Roundhouse's Sunday Implosion gigs, with The Living Theatre – officially the oldest experimental company in the world – moving among the crowd like the counter- cultural equivalent of a flash mob, but with social/political consciousness-raising rather than marketing as the intent. They were the resident artistes at Atomic Sunrise, on a bill that included many names welded firmly to that time: Graham Bond (whose presence deterred the billed but absent Black Sabbath), Brian Auger, Third Ear Band, Fat Mattress, Gypsy. But none of these are what gives the film to be premiered at the Roundhouse on 11 March its cachet. That lies with the unique, thrilling footage of Bowie, Genesis, and Hawkwind at formative stages of their careers. There is nothing else like it on film.

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