18 December 2014

When The Psychedelic Warlords came back to Camden, I was there*

For reasons that I do not understand, or remotely care about, The Psychedelic Warlords returned to the Camden Underworld just a few months after their last visit there and that gave me another chance to see them, which I eagerly accepted.

It was a Thursday evening so I arranged to work at home that day to allow me to get there in causal clothes. I really did not want to go there straight from work wearing a suit and carrying a big bag with a PC in it. I have done that before when forced (screwing my suit up in to the bag) but I'd much rather not.

If anything the plan worked too well and I was due to arrive much earlier that the 7:30 I was aiming for. That gave me another opportunity, this time to up my step count by walking from Hampstead Heath station. The walk was a reasonable distance so the exercise was good but the view was not. This was quite an ugly part of London and I took no photos along the way.

Once at the Underworld I first tried their own brand beer (no idea who brews it). It was rather lively and a bit pricey at £4.40 but it was quite pleasant and I had another one after the support band. They were okay too if not that exciting.

The Psychedelic Warlords did what they did last time (with a few slight differences) and that is precisely why I had gone to see them again. This time, knowing what to expect, I paid a little more attention to how they operated.

This was Alan Davey's band and so his bass featured prominently and proudly. Countering that, on the far left of the stage, was Zoie's keyboard and sonics which provided the lilting top-end to Alan's grinding bass. In the middle was Craig High's vocals, theatrics and various wind instruments. Providing the solid bulk of the music were Simon Wilkins' guitar and, hiding at the back, Billy Fleming's drums.



The set was a raucous sing-along dance-along to (mostly) good friends from the two albums Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters, and Hall of the Mountain Grill. Obviously the later album is where Psychedelic Warlords found their name.

I always thought of Captain Lockheed as being a fringe album, and it is but not to this crowd. Everybody seemed to know all the words to all the songs. It was almost as if we had all be listening to the album for the last forty years.

* I stole the "I was there" line from The Song of the Gremlin whose words were originally sung/spoken by Arthur Brown.

Hall of the Mountain Grill was also partially overlooked. Psychedelic Warlords and D-Rider did get played by the likes of Space Ritual and Hoaxwind

High Rise confused things a little by being thrown in mid-way through Hall of the Mountain Grill  It is one of my favourite Hawkwind songs (there are many of them) and I was delighted to hear it played live.

It was a delight to sing, "Starfish, Of human blood shape, Tentacles of human gore, Spread out on the pavement from the 99th floor." Bob Calvert at his lyrical best.

The music continued loud and proud and there was not a still body in the house. Mine was hardly the most energetic dancing but what I lacked in ability and movement I made up for in enthusiasm. The talent was on the stage, not the dance floor.

The nice thing about the Hawkwind family of bands is that even when they play the same songs they each have a distinctive sound and all of the interpretations of the legend are valid and entertaining.

The Psychedelic Warlords are a mighty fine band playing fine music and I definitely want to see them again.

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