Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hawkwind plus Easter equals ... Hawkeaster!

Hawkwind performing at Hawkeaster. Photograph: Captain Smurf
Soon after the sun had set – late tangerine rays stroking the canvas of tipis encamped in bitter cold above the sea – the tribe converged on Seaton Town Hall in Devon, no less, and the headline act at Easter's big festival began. Forget the Stones' date at Glastonbury up the road; here's the band that is the real guardian of British rock, enduring but ever-mutating, and – as the weekend's music demonstrated – ever-improving: Hawkwind.
There is a crucial difference between Hawkwind's following and that of other groups spawned in the 1960s: while the great survivors and revivers have their elder and younger fans, the originals and their children, no other has collected a seamless following at – and recruited musicians from – every musical stage along the way, from 60s acid rock through Hawkwind's own "space rock", 70s punk, 80s electro-ecstasy, 90s techno and beyond. Born of Notting Hill's summer of love in 1969 (when their first gig was also mine), Hawkwind then detonated that of the raves two decades later – so that everyone was there for Hawkeaster this weekend: space hippies who heard them play free festivals each solstice at Stonehenge, heavy-gauge bikers who tried to defend them from the police; plus now 40-something ecstasy-heads, still determinedly tri-coloured mohican punks and a new crop of teenagers and techies. (And of course the usual, modest, quota of queue-pushing meatheads and middle-managers.)

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