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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Live: Hawktoberfest 2015

Photo: Sidestagecoll @Flickr

Hawkwind returned to Academy 1 on Saturday night to curate another Hawktoberfest. This year’s alternative autumn ‘fest’ featured entertaining dub punk rock from Ruts DC, and psychedelic rock from Manchester-based Amplifier. However, the main attraction of the night was a two-hour set from space rock founders and sonic innovators, Hawkwind themselves. Nurtured in the Ladbroke Grove commune of the late 1960s, Hawkwind fast became central to a new wave of experimental rock music. Despite forming 46 years ago, Saturday night showed that Hawkwind’s music hasn’t aged a second. The range of sounds used by most other experimental artists is still a cosmos off those heard in 1970s classics such as In Search of Space and Warrior on the Edge of Time.

Hawkwind opened with the metallic ‘Utopia’, which must have lasted for about 20 minutes. From then on, they presented a staggering array of sounds, with most songs ascending into what seemed like free-form improvisation. Just as everyone was getting used to the lightshow on offer, onto the stage came a dancer dressed as a Blade Runner replicant, and she preceded to throw fire-coloured linen around and dance with death near the summit of a blue curtain.

After about an hour, there was a long interlude of electro-psychedelia while the drummer caught his breath. “Oh my poor heart”, commented Hawkwind’s only constant member, 74-year-old Dave Brock, before he launched into another freak-out full of synth crescendos. Just as impressive as the range of sounds was the cohesion of the whole performance—the rhythm section never deteriorated, even at the height of improvisation.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:

Space Ritual Live - Special Edition
2DVD/2CD - £29.99

Space Ritual Live 
2CD1DVD - £19.99

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