HAWKWIND + THE BLACKHEART ORCHESTRA – THEATRE ROYAL, BRIGHTON 10.11.19
Thankfully Brighton was added to the 15-date tour of the UK and thus giving the lucky punters first dibs on this very special occasion. The venue was buzzing prior to the event and clearly things were also buzzing backstage as the band has been due to arrive at 1pm to unload, setup and soundcheck, however that didn’t quite go to plan. They were heading across country from Honiton (east of Exeter) in Devon on a 4 hour 154 mile journey, but unluckily their unit sustained a puncture and they eventually rocked on up in Brighton at 5pm instead. But worry not ye of little faith, as I arrived a tad early and heard part of the soundcheck and it sounded pretty amazing to me.
Clearly Hawkwind are on a high at present as their 32nd studio album, entitled ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ was unleashed on 25th October 2019 on vinyl, digital plus CD and has gone crashing into the album charts. The new platter sparks a storming return to their space rock roots and the CD version comes with a second bonus disc ‘Acoustic Daze’, which is also available in a mere 1000 stand alone vinyl edition copies as well. The nine track ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ album picks up effortlessly from their conceptual Top 40 charting albums ‘The Machine Stops’ (2016) and ‘Into The Woods’ (2017).
The current Hawkwind quartet that has dropped ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ are Dave Brock (guitar, vocals, keyboards since 1969–present), Richard Chadwick (drums since 1988–present), Niall Hone (bass, keyboards from 2008-2016 and 2018-present) and Magnus Martin (guitar, vocals from 2016–present). They have arguably created a tight, psychedelic groove that runs through the spine of the album, which embraces each musician’s individual talents along the way.
We certainly had our fair share of the latest release this evening, with the almost punky album opener ‘Flesh Fondue’ (which is our second track of the night) which is a classic Hawkwind space rock number; alien creatures feeding on the inhabitants of planets, carried by Brock’s characteristic guitar and vocals and underpinned by Chadwick’s superb rhythm and hypnotic drum fills. ‘Last Man On Earth’ (our third track of the night) has nods me think to The Eagles. The contemplative ‘65 Million Years Ago’ (our fifth tune of the evening) with haunting Brock vocals was followed by the melodic lament, ‘In the Beginning’, and our final offering from the new album was it’s closing tune ‘The Fantasy of Faldum’, which is apparently based on a Hermann Hesse fairytale, and slotted in at live track seven. Before I forget, here are the links to ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ on CD and the VINYL, but be warned, they are likely to have all gone by the time you read this, so try other avenues!
Back to the Theatre Royal and the Hawkwind quartet and their chum (there’s five guys on stage) are certainly entertaining the crowd. There are lasers shooting out onto the balconies and backing films to each number. There’s ample use of keyboards to keep me happy and copious use of the theremin, which produces some truly fantastic and haunting notes. As far as I can recall, this was used to best effect on the most enjoyable ‘Born To Go’ from their 1973 ‘Space Ritual’ album, which to me had the perfect mix of Space Rock, Kraut Rock and the US duo Suicide. It was very well received by the crowd. Obviously the theremin also seriously announces itself on the truly timeless ‘Silver Machine’ mega-hit, which was surprisingly slotted in mid-set at number eight, which saw drummer Richard Chadwick on vocal duty. Psychedelic bands should really consider adding a theremin to their instruments as it really tops off the vibe very nicely indeed.
I was assured that I was going to enjoy ‘Silver Machine’ the best tonight, having fond memories of dancing to it (when it came out in 1972) with the local girls at disco’s held by Collins and Morton at Westdene Scouts Hall on the outskirts of Brighton. But no, it was usurped by track six, which was ‘Spirit Of Age’, from their 1977 ‘Quark, Strangeness And Charm’ album. It has a great synth intro and just kept getting better. The punters enjoyed it too.
I honestly enjoyed tonight’s 1 hour 52 minute performance, (from 9:01pm to 10:53pm) much more than I thought I was going to and this was a great way to spend a cold winter evening. I would go and see them live again and hopefully in the same venue as it fitted perfectly.
1. ‘Motor Way City’ (found on 1980 ‘Levitation’ album)
2. ‘Flesh Fondue’ (found on 2019 ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ album)
3. ‘Last Man On Earth’ (found on 2019 ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ album)
4a ‘Icarus (Gremlin)’
4b. ‘Born To Go’ (found on 1973 ‘Space Ritual’ album)
5a. ‘65 Million Years Ago’ (found on 2019 ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ album)
5b. ‘In The Beginning’ (found on 2019 ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ album)
6. ‘Spirit Of Age’ (found on 1977 ‘Quark, Strangeness And Charm’ album)
7. ‘The Fantasy Of Faldum’ (found on 2019 ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ album)
8. ‘Silver Machine’ (found on 1972 ‘Silver Machine’ 7” single + 1982 ‘Choose Your Masques’ album)
9b. ‘Assault and Battery – Part One’ (found on 1975 ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ album)
9c. ‘Golden Void – Part Two’ (found on 1975 ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ album)
10. ‘Right To Decide’ (found on 1992 ‘Electric Tepee‘ album)
11. ‘Hurry On Sundown’ (found on 1970 ‘Hawkwind’ album)
12. ‘Master Of The Universe’ (found on 1971 ‘In Search Of Space’ album)
Support this evening came from The Blackheart Orchestra (fka ‘Blackheart’) who are award-winning British songwriters, composers and multi-instrumentalists Chrissy Mostyn and Rick Pilkington. They performed from 8:00pm to 8:30pm and I would suggest that they could be termed as ‘new age electronic’ or ‘synth folk’, if there is such a thing.
Their set was quite interesting with its many layers of sound and Scandinavian style vocals from Chrissy. This was an absorbing watch as the duo (who shared vocal duties) flitted between various instruments, with Chrissy on keyboards, guitar and electronic percussion, and Rick on classical guitar, Korg X5 synth and bass. In fact at one stage Rick was playing the X5 with one hand and plucking the fret of his bass at the same time – clever stuff!
A majority of the mainly mature crowd was respectful to this support act, but there were a few certain individuals that were a tad too gobby for my liking and others were blatantly holding loud conversations which drinking their beer, especially those to my immediate right, who as a result made frequent trips to the little boys room! Our row including the disabled person on the end, who had to keep moving just for them. It’s not big and it’s not clever!
The Blackheart Orchestra setlist:
‘Hypnotize’ (from the 2017 ‘Diving For Roses’ album)
‘Drown Me Out’ (from the 2019 ‘Mesmeranto’ album)
‘Sebastian’ (from the 2017 ‘Diving For Roses’ album)
‘Wolves’ (from the 2019 ‘Mesmeranto’ album)
‘You And I’ (from the 2019 ‘Mesmeranto’ album)
Hawkwind milestones over the past 50 years:
1969 – Hawkwind were formed by former London busker Dave Brock who remains at the helm today.
1970 – The band appeared outside the perimeter fence of the Isle of Wight Festival and the first Glastonbury Festival. Hawkwind’s first single, ‘Hurry On Sundown’, was also released followed by the self titled debut album, ‘Hawkwind’
1972 – Band record and release their trademark single ‘Silver Machine’, featuring Lemmy on vocals, a huge hit that brings band to the attention of the wider public and has since been used in commercials for Mazda cars and Red Square vodka drink. Around the same time various contributors became involved in the creative process, these included sci-fi author Michael Moorcock, poet and visionary Bob Calvert, designer ‘Barney Bubbles’ and lighting engineer ‘Liquid Len. Band tour the USA for the first time.
1975 – After a drugs bust in USA, Lemmy leaves the band and goes on to form ‘Motörhead’.
1980 – Release 2 top 10 albums, ‘Live 79’ and ‘Levitation’, the latter sees former Cream member Ginger Baker on drumming duties.
1979 – 1985 the band’s singles and albums make regular inroads into the national, independent and heavy metal charts.
1985 – The band performed the ambitious ‘Chronicle Of The Black Sword’, as a spectacular live show inspired heavily by Michael Moorcock’s epic saga, ‘ELRIC’.
1986 – Headline the Reading Rock Festival, with a guest appearance from Lemmy.
Late 80’s – Early 90’s – Band become more electronic in approach, especially in the studio and are a huge influence on the emerging dance and rave scene.
The 90’s – As ever the band performed on regular national and international tours releasing more new material along the way.
Early 00’s – Appear on the TV show Top 10 (prog rock edition) and tour Australia for the first time. Iconic vocalist Arthur Brown makes various guest appearances at live shows. In 2002 Hawkwind hold the first “Hawkfest”, a family friendly event headlined by the band.
2005 – Release ‘Take Me To Your Leader’, first new studio album in 8 years
2006 – Release ‘Take Me To Your Future’ on “dual disc” format (music one side, film the other)
2009 – saw the band celebrating 40 years in the business playing to packed venues the length and breadth of the country with the highlights being a stunning headline set at the 2009 ‘Beautiful Days’ festival in Devon which earned them a nomination at the UK festival awards followed by 2 sold out shows at the exclusive Porchester Halls in London, where they were introduced on stage by Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. These shows marked the start of the 40th anniversary celebrations.
In December, joined by guest violinist Jon Sevink of the Levellers, Hawkwind play to sell out audiences on their Christmas UK tour.
In June 2010, Hawkwind were honoured with the MOJO Maverick Award to mark their influence and longevity in the music business.
June 2010 also sees the release of a new studio album, ‘Blood Of The Earth’ released on the summer solstice.
Following a run of major festivals across Europe, Hawkwind return to the UK to mark both the end of their 40th anniversary celebrations, and also the 40 year anniversary of their iconic 1970 Isle of Wight appearance, by staging their own 3 day ‘Hawkfest’ on the exact same site, the Hawkwind performance taking place exactly 40 years to the day of the original..
Hawkwind finished off 2010 with their traditional pre Christmas tour of UK venues.
Early in 2011, Hawkwind returned to Australia for festival and regional shows.
2011 Dave Brock presents ‘Hero’ Mojo Award to John Lydon of the Sex Pistols/PIL
Following headline slots at the ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ and ‘Hellfest’ in France, summer 2011 saw the recording of a new studio album, ‘Onward’, released in June 2012.
November 2012 saw the release of two further albums. A Dave Brock solo album, ‘Looking For Love In The Lost Land Of Dreams’ and Hawkwind Light Orchestra, ‘Stellar Variations’.
The spring ‘Warrior’ 2013 tour, launched at their ‘HawkEaster’ event in Devon on 30th and 31st of March and included a full performance of the ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ album.
September 2013 Dave Brock receives prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Prog Rock awards at a ceremony in London’s Kew Gardens.
October 2013 sees a new album release ‘Spacehawks’ especially for the North American market.
Hawkwind release an animated single of ‘Sonic Attack’ with British acting legend Brian Blessed.
On Feb 22nd 2014 at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Hawkwind performed a unique recital of ‘The Space Ritual’ with proceeds being divided between three animal charities. (Team Badger, Animals Asia and Doris Banham Dog Rescue) The event was entitled Rock 4 Rescue. (A DVD of this show was released to great acclaim in 2015)
April 2014 – Second annual ‘HawkEaster’ takes place.
May 2014 – Wildlife Rocks charity concert with Brian May at Guildford Cathedral.
October 2014 – ‘Hawktoberfest’ is launched at the Academy 1 in Manchester UK, followed by UK mini tour.
April 2015, sees the third annual ‘HawkEaster’, a successful 3 day Hawkwind festival held in Seaton, Devon.
April 2015 – First Hawkwind concerts in Tokyo Japan.
May – July 2015 – Hawkwind return to Earth Studios in Devon to record new studio album based on a short sci-fi story by E.M Forster ‘The Machine Stops’.
October 2015 – Second ‘Hawktoberfest’ with special guests Amplifier, Ruts DC and Prime Sinister.
November 2015 – New solo album released by Hawkwind leader Dave Brock entitled ‘Brockworld’.
Dec 2015 – Hawkwind Winter Solstice Christmas Party with special guest guitarist, Steve Hillage at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
April 2016 – Release of concept studio album, ‘The Machine Stops’, followed by UK and European tour dates.
November 2019 – Their 32nd studio album, entitled ‘All Aboard The Skylark’ crashes in at No.1 on the ‘Official Rock & Metal Albums Chart’ and No.34 on the ‘Official Album Charts’. They begin their 50th Anniversary Tour in Brighton on 10th November.
Further information on Hawkwind can be found on their official website – www.hawkwind.com
Visit and ‘LIKE’ our ‘What’s On – from Brighton and Hove News’ Facebook page HERE.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.