8 November 2014

Hawklords at the 100 Club

I had seen several bands that had grown out of Hawkwind, including Space Ritual and Psychedelic Warlords, as well as several Hawkwind tribute bands like Hoaxwind, but I had never seen Hawklords before.

I had the opportunity to rectify that mistake when they played the 100 Club on the last night of their Infinite Loop tour.

I was not sure what to expect as I knew that they wrote their own music and would obviously be playing a lot of this. What I did not know was how much Hawkwind they would also play, if any. In the end it did not matter very much as there was a common feel to all the songs that they played; I just assumed that the ones I recognised were by Hawkwind and the rest by Hawklords.

I took my usual position at the front and to the left of the stage early on and managed to maintain a good view throughout the concert despite a few incursions by enthusiastic alcohol-fuelled dancers. What I did not know until the band came on was that my chosen position would place me more or less next to lead guitarist Jerry Richards.

Jerry was a revelation!

I knew of Jerry from his Space Ritual days and then he was a timid bass player who hid at the back except when called on for a few vocals. I recall speaking to him briefly once at one of the Notting Hill gigs (in 2009, probably) when he went to the bar to ask for a cup of tea, which he almost apologised for. Here he played lead guitar like a proper lead guitarist. His intricate playing added texture to the music and his bent-knee stance made him look the part.

The other key ingredient for the sound was Harvey Bainbridge keyboards which he played almost motionless in the comparative dark on the far-left of the stage. Not everybody wants to play the rock star.

The line up was completed by Ron Tree on vocals, a ridiculously young bassist and a drummer. If Hawklords had a decent website I could tell you who they were.

The Hawklords album from 1978 was celebrated with a version of Flying Doctor and the other Hawkwind songs that I recognised were (mostly) from this period if not this album. One of my highlights of the show was a spacey instrumental that somehow morphed into Uncle Sam's on Mars from PXR5 (1979).

Adding to the evening was a suitably psychedelic light show. I know the music is the important thing but a good light show always helps and the lack of one is my main complaint against the Borderline.

The few manic dancers aside, everybody was well behaved and there was a good atmosphere in the audience, as there always is when everybody if having a good time. And everybody did have a very good time. All the music, be it by Hawkwind or Hawklords was excellent, and was delivered in a style that was all Hawklords.

Unsurprisingly, Hawklords have now been added to my must-see list of bands.

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