22 May 2009

Hoaxwind delight at The Peel

The last time that I saw Hoaxwind at The Peel they were supporting Dumpy's Rusty Nuts so it was nice to be back a few weeks later to see them headline their own show.

I was not interested in the support so having established from the band that they expected to be on stage around 10pm I set off by bus aiming to get there around 9:30 to give me time to socialise. The evening started well when somebody got on the bus wearing a Hoaxwind t-shirt I introduced myself and she explained that she was Tony's (keyboards) wife. We had a good chat about music in general and Hawkwind in particular as we walked through the darker byways of Norbiton to The Peel.

I got a little time to socialise and, sadly, to catch some of the opening act before Hoaxwind took the stage to face a mixed audience of ancient Hawkwind fans and kiddies who had come to see the support.

Not sure if there was anything significant in the decision but the first thing that I noticed was that they lined-up on stage in an almost mirror-image of their previous show. Another new feature was the projected display behind the band and the smoke machine that wheezed briefly before succumbing to some technical illness and dying ingloriously.

I had the presence of mind to make a note of the set list during the concert (I am too used to bands that put a clearly typed list on stage for you to photograph) but as I did not do this last time it is hard to do much of a comparison. Much like Space Ritual, Hoaxwind play a mix of early Hawkwind classics (Brainstorm, Master of the Universe, Orgone Accumulator) and more classics from the Bob Calvert era (Quark Strangeness and Charm, Death Trap and Hassan-i Sabbah).

It was the longer songs that I appreciated most and I was almost embarrassingly happy to hear Assault and Battery along with the previously mentioned Hassan-i Sabbah and Orgone Accumulator.

The songs are all excellent but what Hoaxwind do to them is excellent too. The arrangements are deliberately different from those that we are used to, this is nothing like listening to the LPs, and they make full use of the wide range of talents on display. They also put an effort into their appearance (though I have no idea what the skeleton suit has to do with the Hawkwind legend) and they all clearly relish their role in making the rich mix of sound work.

I made a point of listening to the various instruments individually at different times through the evening and it was clear that they are all accomplished musicians that play well together as a unit.

A Hoaxwind concert gives you good songs played my good musicians who enjoy their work - what more could you want from a night out?

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