16 December 2008

Hawkwind at The Brook

For the last few years I have been going to the annual Christmas Concert at the Astoria and London, and I am going this year too, but I could not miss the opportunity to see them at The Brook in Southampton as well.

I've been to The Book a couple of times to see the Sensational Alex Harvey Band play and I like the intimate feel to the place.

It is quite a small venue, I believe that it holds just 450 people, and there are no crash barriers so you can get right to the front of the stage - as I always try to do.

The stage is rather high so when you do get to the front it is like lying on the floor at the feet of the band - an unusual and interesting perspective.

Hawkwind's line up changes fairly regularly, sadly most recently due to the sudden death of one of the band.

Dave Brock is at the helm, obviously, and is now joined by Tim Blake on keyboards and theremin, Mr Dibs on bass and vocals, new guitarist Niall Honeand and long serving drummer Richard Chadwick.

Dance and mime is provided by Matt and Laura, here performing during Who's Gonna Win the War; the highlight of the show for me.

The show was a trawl through the extensive Hawkwind back catalogue which picked out some expected gems (Master of the Universe) and some unexpected ones (Silver Machine), while leaving out some that were expected (Brainstorm). They also played two brand new tracks.

But expected or not and familiar or not, they all worked well individually and well together to make an impressive set that had a few high points but no low ones.

The Brook has a small stage so while that meant that I was fairly close to all of the band it also curtailed some of the visual aspects of the show.

The band was not able to move very much (not that Hawkwind are a particularly vigorous band, unlike, say, SAHB) and there was limited room for the two dancers.

This also had a positive side as when the dancers came on stage they had little option but to go right to the front in the middle, i.e. just by me. I got a close radiation scan during Damnation Alley!

But I did not go to The Brook for the dancers or to see the band move around the stage, I went to hear and see Hawkwind close up and that was a great success.

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