Hawkwind – Live at Shepard’s Bush Empire

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Hawkwind open up their act with an impressive light show

Let it never be said that Hawkwind are boring.

Hawkwind are veterans of the music scene, having been around for nearly 45 years. Last week, Dave Brock celebrated his 72nd birthday, proving that age is indeed no barrier in having a good time. Hawkwind may be old, but if you saw them live you’d still believe that the band was fresh and young, and that this was 1975.

During this section of the tour, the band played with Polish band hipersoniK who helped to open up the crowd with interesting songs in Polish and an excellent cover of ’21st Century Schizoid Man’. Which was played with such excellency that even old Fripp would be proud of its achievements. The band showed a rather peculiar fashion sense, with the lead singer sporting the most baggy pair of trousers that I have ever seen in my life and sunglasses despite the fact it was indoors and rather dark.

But bad fashion aside, hipiersoniK showed an excellent show despite us having no idea exactly what they were going to play, even after seeing them on stage I still couldn’t tell you, other than it is a mix of progressive rock, trip hop, jazz and some other genres. They even played a slightly extended show, much to the chagrin of the organisers, who tried again and again to get them off the stage.

At 9 o’clock on the dot, the Hawkwind landed on stage and it was a sight to behold. Hawkwind didn’t just play, they preformed. Light shows, dancers and stage props all brought together an excellent show that made it hard to focus on any one part of the stage at once. Eighteen out of the twenty songs came from the 70s, including an entire performance front to back of Warrior on the End of Time, which was superb.

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Hawkwind show that 70s clothing still looks good today

If hipersoniK had a rather odd sense in fashion, the Hawkwind’s is equally as bizarre. Sporting a vast array of sandals, military boots, a beret, stripy trousers and floral shirts, it literally looked as if the band had stepped out of a time portal from the 70s. But again, the band rose above their uniform and turned into a mighty music machine.

In normal Hawkwind style, the band themselves preferred to stand towards the back edge of the stage, apart from Tim Blake who came out a few times to dance whilst playing his keytar. Dave Brock enjoying camping out towards the far right of the stage, only coming out to sing his vocal parts, before retreating back into the abyss. The front of the stage was reserved for the dancers who played out the story of the Eternal Champion, (who looks rather similar to Daenerys Targaryen) as she dealt with the evil hag and had help from a scantly dressed ‘ I look evil, but I’m not actually evil’ wizard.

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I knight thee, Lady Champion of the Eternal Hawkwind.

The music was well received by the large crowd which was cramped into the Shepard’s Bush Empire, Warrior on the Edge of Time was played without fault, with an excellent broadcast being shown across the back of the stage. There were numerous instrument changes, with Tim Blake switching from an ancient theremin to a modern day keytar. Mr. Dibs brought some excellent cello work and Dead Fred was a beast behind the keyboards and violin. A special mention goes to Richard Chadwick, Hawkwind’s longest serving member behind Dave, who played his drums with such passion that he really was an eternal champion.

Hawkwind rounded off their set with a double encore, the first was dedicated to veteran metal head Lemmy due to the fact that he has been unwell as of late. It was his final song written by the infamous ‘Motorhead’. When that was done the band came back with one of their most famous songs, ‘You’d Better Believe it’ and with that the Hawkwind concert was over.

The set list was superb, the band performed admirably, and dancers were simply amazing and the atmosphere was excellent. Hawkwind may have had several bad patches to their career, but you could never tell by seeing them live. The band may still be unknown in the wide world, but they have racked up an excellent and devoted audience. If you have a passion for music, or men in stripy trousers and sandals, then you really should spend an evening with Hawkwind, it might just be the best night of your life.

5/5

Song of the night goes to Kings of Speed, which was played excellently and had an amazing show being played on the back of the stage, akin to an epileptic nightmare.

Moment of the night goes to the person who shouted ‘Happy Birthday’ to Dave Brock, to which he replied ‘Thank you!’

Member of the night does to Mr. Dibs, who played the Cello and always did an excellent job on the vocals, especially on the songs ‘Hassan I Sahba’ and ‘Reefer Madness’

Setlist:

The Awakening
Master of the Universe
Steppenwolf
The Hills Have Ears
‘Warrior on the Edge of Time’
Assault and Battery (Part 1)
The Golden Void (Part 2)
The Wizard Blew His Horn
Opa-Loka
The Demented Man
Magnu
Standing at the Edge
Spiral Galaxy 28948
Dying Seas
Warriors
Kings of Speed
Sentinel
Reefer Madness
Hassan I Sahba
Encore:
Motorhead
Encore 2:
You’d Better Believe It

hipiersoniK facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hipiersoniK

Hawkwind facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HawkwindHQ

Hawkwind band page: http://www.hawkwind.com/

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