Unfortunately, due to the utterly Draconian parking restrictions currently operating in Melbourne’s CBD, this scribe was only able to catch the last track of the supporting act for the night, The Night Terrors. What was heard was an intriguing and compelling sound.
Hawkwind. Where to start? Babysitters in Melbourne would have been working overtime to cover this gig! The majority of the crowd was, shall we say, of a certain age. Lots of grey hair and wrinkles – and that didn’t include the band! There was definitely a cross section of people – punks and hippies co-existing harmoniously! One of the more eclectic crowds you would encounter at a gig.
Guitarist/keyboardist Dave Brock is the only original member of Hawkwind still with the band. Hawkwind, in some way, shape or form, has now been going for forty years! This is only their second visit to Australia in that time. Unfortunately, their music has been overshadowed by the fact that this was the band Lemmy got kicked out of, which lead to him forming the legendary Motorhead. This is a shame, as their music, as demonstrated at the gig, has an interesting and compelling life of its own.
Brock describes the music of Hawkwind as ‘space rock’. To the band’s credit, the music sounds both of its time and timeless. This is the type of music that makes you want to jump into your speakers and get lost in the sound. Currently touring as a five member band with two stilt walkers/interpretive dancers, the sound that Hawkwind create live is largely an enjoyable and compelling one. They have often been described as the link between progressive rock and punk; you can definitely hear that in the harder edge of the music. At times, they would have sounded punk before punk even theoretically existed.
Highlights on the night were, for this scribe, ‘Sentinel’ and ‘The Flying Doctor’. Most tracks that the band played ran to around the ten minute mark – music to lose yourself to. In many ways, the dancers made you think to yourself that this really WAS Spinal Tap! What kept the night in check and stopped it from getting laughable or pretentious was the combination of great music and the fact that the band didn’t take themselves too seriously.
The night ended with an absolutely storming version of “Silver Machine”, which had the die hard fans up the front going utterly mental! For the the uninitiated, the gig would’ve made them want to track down some Hawkwind albums, which leads to that evergreen rock n’ roll experience; when a great gig makes you want to find out more about the band in question and discover their music.
– Neil Evans