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Hawkwind – The Charisma Years 1976-1979

Atomhenge

Hawkwind - The Charisma YearsHawkwind will inevitably be remembered for “Silver Machine” — an unlikely (even in 1972) top ten hit — and Space Ritual, possibly the greatest live album of all time. From 1970 to 1973, they were indeed the voice of the underground, the UK’s version of Grateful Dead, had that group been any good…

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Various – I’m A Freak, Baby: A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych and Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-72

Cherry Red

Various - I'm A Freak, BabyEarly on in Give the Anarchist a Cigarette, Mick Farren’s majestic – and comic – memoir (its early years set against the growing pains of British youth culture), he relates an incident that took place whilst visiting his friends Paul and Beryl in Brighton one grey bank holiday weekend in the mid-Sixties.

Sitting on a wall outside the Metropole Hotel, amidst the hand-to-hand combat and full-on deckchairs, chains and bottles carnage of mods versus rockers apocalypse, the trio were approached all day by roving bands of bloodied and beleaguered participants from both factions

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Hawkwind Light Orchestra – Stellar Variations/Dave Brock – Looking for Love in the Lost Land of Dreams

Esoteric Antenna

Hawkwind Light Orchestra - Stellar VariationsA slew of new Hawkwind-related material has appeared of late, as Dave Brock and his ever-changing cast of merry men enter their fifth decade of existence, still flying their pirate freak flags high. The group released a double album, the patchy Onward, last year, a new Brock solo album (see below) has just come out, and to top it all – in every sense – comes this quirky release from three-fifths of the current Hawkwind like-up: Brock himself, long-serving drummer Richard Chadwick, and recent arrival Niall Hone (who, like many latterday Hawkwind alumni, cut his musical teeth in the free festival scene of the 80s, in this case as a member of Tribe Of Cro). The liner notes explain that the three

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Hawkwind (live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire)

Shepherd’s Bush Empire London 11 December 2011

Ok, I admit it…..I missed Hugh Lloyd Langton’s set because I was in the pub watching Hawkwind covers band Hoaxwind and enjoying them way too much. They played a superb set of Hawkwind classics (including “Needle Gun” which I had not heard in years and sounded amazingly good), and were fantastic great fun and sounded quite amazing. If you have not seen them yet I strongly suggest you do and they always seem to be playing at a pub near to a Hawkwind gig.

The winter solstice machine rolls on for Hawkwind and I now can’t imagine a yuletide period without their tour of shows. Whereas [post=hawkwind-live text=”last year”] Dave Brock was stood over to one side of the stage tonight he is dead centre, the captain taking command of his crew again. Last year the

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Hawkwind – Leave No Star Unturned

Easy Action

Over the years there have been innumerable live Hawkwind releases, of varying degrees of officiality and legality. The majority of the officially sanctioned releases are worthy of attention, even those put out by latter-day, non-classic line-ups. The unofficial releases range from essential documents of the psychedelic warlords in full battle cry, to recordings so laughably poor that they were quite plausibly recorded on a dictaphone by someone loitering outside the venue. During a force 10 gale.

I’m not sure whether this particular release is approved by head Hawk Dave Brock and his current cohorts, but it is brought to the world by Easy Action, a label that has previously put out a slew of more than worthwhile MC5, [post=iggy-pop-california-hitchhike text=”Iggy Pop“] and [post=stooges-action text=”Stooges”] live releases, and even before playing the CD the signs are encouraging: the presentation, at least,

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Hawkwind (live at The Forum)

The Forum, London 17 December 2010

This is Earth calling, this is Earth calling……

It’s mid-winter, snow is on the ground and Arctic winds blow and London is bought to a stand still by Tube strikes and 2cm of the white stuff (no not the “Right Stuff”). Beaming down from their planet, Hawkwind are on their usual winter solstice space ritual tour and tonight is its final night.

Hawkwind live at The Forum

What better way to warm the frozen masses than to slide into a rousing rendition of the X In Search of Space classic “You Shouldn’t Do That.” In fact tonight Hawkwind manage to slip in a few little surprises. From the moment the set starts with Tim Blake’s space synthesizer giving an electronic countdown to cosmic blast off you know you’re going to be in for a treat. Then the rest of

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Various Artists – In Search of Hawkwind

Critical Mass

In Search of HawkwindIn Search of Hawkwind is a tribute album, whereby nine venerable old battle hymns originally cranked out by the veteran psychedelic cosmonauts are re-interpreted by younger, hipper bands, mostly from the US (at least I think so — I’m not actually hip enough to have heard of all of them). There have been other Hawkwind tributes, but they’ve tended to be low-budget releases featuring deservedly obscure free festival-type acts, though the likes of Acid Mothers Temple (of whom more below) and Wire’s Colin Newman have popped up on them too. This looks to be a bigger-league affair, nicely packaged and featuring a couple of biggish names in Mudhoney and the aforementioned Acid Mothers, alongside established neo-psych stalwarts Bardo Pond and a clutch of younger acts: Kinski, Mugstar, White Hills, Magoo, and Wooden Shijps

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Hawkwind – Alien 4

Atomhenge

Hawkwind - Alien 4Ah, the mighty ‘Wind. Where to start? Let’s assume that readers have at the very least a passing knowledge of Hawkwind‘s classic 1970s material and mythos. That decade’s long strange trip went roughly thus for the Hawks: early ‘electronic barbarian’ days in the Ladbroke Grove freak scene, then the never-bettered industrial strength trance-riffage of the Space Ritual era, before moving on to leaner, tighter, sci-fi dystopianism in the post-punk era. Almost every (official) Hawkwind release of the 70s is a timeless classic, and the band’s influence can be felt in virtually every countercultural music trend since. Under Dave Brock‘s stewardship, the band maintained a sizeable cult following throughout the 80s, as one of the house bands on the free festival scene, and if their material got patchier, they were still enough of a live draw to end their

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