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Saturday, May 26, 2007

In case of sonic attack

I've been having a bit of a Hawkwind week. Because of a couple of other things I'd bought, Amazon put a bunch of Hawkwind CDs in my recommendations list. Since some of them were only 3.96 on a special offer and a couple of them were remasters with additional tracks, I bought a few...

"Space Ritual Alive In London" (Hawkwind)

"In Search of Space: Remastered" (Hawkwind)

"Doremi Fasol Latido: Remastered" (Hawkwind)

"Hall of the Mountain Grill: Remastered" (Hawkwind)

"Masters of the Universe" (Hawkwind)

A slave to big copyright, I actually already own all of these on vinyl (which I haven't played for at least 20 years) and I know for a fact that I'd bought some of them on CD. (And I'll be buying yet another version of Space Ritual next month, because a new remastered audio DVD is coming out.) The old ones may well be somewhere around the house, but I can't find them. Anyway, who cares about vinyl or CDs anymore. As soon as they arrived, I ripped them straight to my iPod and I've been listening to them on trains, planes and automobiles this week.


I mean, Hawkwind probably are my all time favourite rock band. I've probably seen them live more times than any other band except possibly Motorhead -- and one of the best nights out in my entire life was Hawkwind with Motorhead at the Hammersmith Odeon Christmas show in 1979 -- at venues ranging from outdoor festivals in six feet of mud to provincial clubs to concert halls. I'd say that the standout was probably the Elephant Fayre down in Cornwall in (I think) 1985, where they came on at midnight and played a set that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, including a full-on version of Needle Gun that I'll never forget. I also remember a great set by Nik Turner's Inner City Unit later that night. I don't know if it was the atmosphere, the crowd or the mood-enhancers but it was truly unforgettable.

I've spent this week reminding myself over and over again what a magnificent outfit they are. When it all comes together for them, as it did for Space Ritual, they are amazing. When you're jammed into the Tube at the end of a long day, so tired you can't think straight and so hot that you can't breathe properly, listening to Orgone Accumulator or Born To Go verges on the surreal. Suddenly you really are 20,000 light years from home, surrounded by aliens... When the guy at Embankment said "Mind the gap", I was genuinely surprised he didn't say "In case of sonic attack... mind the gap".

The voices may not be real, but they do have some good ideas.
[posted with ecto]

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