After a few pints, a burger and a tot o' rum in a London pub (hello Ray & Diane) we ambled on up to The Astoria for Hawkwind's Christmas gig.
Because we got chatting with some homeless guy outside we missed most of the support act 3 Daft Monkeys, who I saw supporting The Levellers back in August, but caught the last couple of songs from ex-Hawk Huw Lloyd-Langton. Despite me first hearing Hawkwind's Silver Machine back in the late 1970s on Essex Radio, as it was then, it was Lloyd-Langton's guitaring on the 1985 masterpiece Live Chronicles that really got me hooked. Well, that and the fantasy concept based on Michael Moorcock's epic Elric of Melinobone stories. Huw's acoustic set seemed to go down well with the crowd, from what we could see from the bar, and I caught the strains of Rocky Paths from, strangely enough, the Live Chronicles double LP.
As for the Hawks themselves I admit I was a little concerned about how they would sound since the departure of bass assassin #2, Alan Davey, and the sad & untimely death of young keyboard player Jason Stuart. But once the synths sparked up and the light show panned out, my fears were allayed.
Master of the Universe was a cracking start to the show just as Nik Turner's Space Ritual played the same down at the Thomas Tripp gig a couple of weeks back. Nice to know that if Dave Brock & Nik Turner can't share a stage at least they can share a song.
Mr Dibs, formerly of Krel and Spacehead, took up bass and vocal duties; you just gotta love the vocal effects he had. And Tim Blake, former Hawk, was back
We were treated to a real mix of tunes including Who's Gonna win the War, Damnation Alley, Sword of the East, The Sentinel and Hassan I Sabbah with the usual treats of a Hawkwind gig; costumed dancers, good light show and back projections of all manner of psychedellic imagery.
The crowd was good, the Astoria was packed, and we worked our way down to the front for the last few tunes where the wreck wasn't as mindless as it had been at the last 3 concerts (Feeder, Motorhead, Space Ritual). Flying Doctor from the spin-off Hawklords LP was good to hear but to finish on Silver Machine was pretty much perfect, although the sound could have been a bit better.
The only spoiler was the guy who got aggy with the staff when he lost his cloakroom ticket and the selfish student who refused to give up the last seat on the train because he wanted to make sure his bags were comfortable.
Same again next year? Unless there's a mid-year Hawkfest, I certainly hope so.