15 February 2012

X In Search of Space

Hoaxwind certainly have some good ideas for concerts.

In December they audaciously played either side of the Hawkwind Christmas Concert in the pub next door to the venue and now they may have even topped that by playing with Hawkwind Legend Nik Turner (currently very active with Space Ritual) and including Hawkwind's second album, In Search of Space, in its entirety.

Hoaxwind also find some unusual venues to play in and so I found myself in Tufnell Park for the first time ever. This sits just above Kentish Town so I should not have been surprised to find that The Boston Arms is an Irish Pub.

Luckily I had swapped my Welsh Rugby shirt that I wore earlier in the day for something traditionally black.

The venue was actually the Boston Arms Music Room which has its own entrance and bar so I headed there as soon as my pint of Guinness was finished and did not wait to see the conclusion of the Gaelic Football match that was on the big screen in the public bar.

Next door the music had started with the opening set from Scud Penguin followed by one from The Strange Agency. Both were acceptable appetisers for the main course.

Hoaxwind started much as usual, and that is a good.

The stage was a mixed blessing. There seemed to be plenty of space for everybody (and don't forget that there are seven Hoaxwindians) but the odd shape meant that some of them were hidden in dark corners.

I was too busy enjoying the music to make any attempt at a set list so I'll assume that the opening part of their set was mostly the four-minute songs they favour like Urban Guerrilla, Damnation Alley and Kerb Crawler.

Nik joined them early on, squeezing in to a busy front row next to Eugene where they played a game of swap-the-instrument all night. Eugene won that one by bringing out an acoustic guitar.

As the set progressed the quality of the sound became more obvious. I don't know if it was the sound system, the large hall or a combination of the two but something was working very well.

The main beneficiary of this was the spacey electronics that were more audible than ever before and added a lot of richness to the wall of sound.

Somewhere in the set In Search of Space started with the Turner/Brock composition You Shouldn't Do That, which lasts a long time but not long enough. The pretty full crowd was dancing seriously by then and most were joining in with the many repeats of "Shouldn't Do That" in the chorus.

Of course we also had Master of the Universe from the same album as well as other long-play favourites like Brainstorm and Orgone Accumulator (pretty much established as my favourite Hoaxwind/Space Ritual track).

It was a sociable evening too with several familiar faces there. It was good to meet Dennis Brunskill IRL for the first time and disappointing not to link-up with John Keogh (who looks nothing like his profile pictures on facebook or foursquare).

The party lasted until after Midnight when the many happy revellers then had to face the twin challengers of heavy snow on the roads and no trains underground.

Luckily I had been offered a lift back to Kingston (thanks Margaret!) and our path home was passable with caution.

I still have my reservations about Tufnell Park but none about Hoaxwind. This was another excellent concert and probably their best ever. Wherever they go from here I'll be going with them.

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