Hawklords, O2 Oxford, 20th October 2011

Went to an enjoyable gig in Oxford on Thursday October 20th 2011 where (for the first time) I saw the Hawlords in action at the O2 in Oxford. If you are in a rush all you need to know is that it was a good gig and they are well worth seeing; if you have a bit more time why not stay and read on after the break?!

The Venue

I had only been to the O2 once before; typically this was to see Hawkwind supported by Harvey Bainbridge (keyboards) and featuring Ron Tree (bass and lead vocal) and Jerry Richards (guitar). The upstairs seemed smaller than I remembered, the support act were too loud and the audience probably peaked at less than 200 people.

The Support

Arrived too late to see Empty Vessels but the second support act, Unknown Flow, were a very talented three piece – guitar, lead vocal / bass / keyboard and the ever popular drum / flute combo. I would make an effort to hear more of this band, even with the exhortations to ‘follow us on FaceBook’ from the bass player ever song break!

The Hawklords

Playing as an eight-piece (with the bass players swapping in and out) were:

Nik Turner – sax, flute and vocals Steve Swindells – keyboard
Harvey Bainbridge – keyboard Meurig Griffiths – drummer
Alan Davey – bass Adrian Shaw – bass
Ron Tree – lead vocal Jerry Richards – guitar

A decent line-up and the first time I had seen Steve Swindells and (I think) also Adrian Shaw. I was most impressed with Adrian Shaw’s bass-work, very different to Alan Davey’s (and I have seen him dozens of times). Harvey seemed under-used (though I didn’t stay until the end and missed one of his tracks). The drummer was excellent (ex-Inner City Unit apparently, a Nik Turner band). The mighty Thunder Rider (Nik) was versatile as ever, laying down all the classic sax sounds one remembers from 70s recordings. Ron was more restrained than I remember from his sting in Hawkwind and Jerry  came to his best (for me) when moving to semi-acoustic. Last but not least Steve Swindells is excellent and I think capable of more than we saw.

The Set

From memory (and other’s notes) the set was very Calvert based:

  • Aerospace Age Inferno (Calvert – Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters)
  • Digital Cage (new track written by Jerry and on the recent Hawklords Friends and Relations 30th Anniversary album)
  • You Shouldn’t do that (Brock / Turner)
  • Only the Dead Dreams (of the Cold War Kid) (Calvert – 25 Years On)
  • Children of the Sun (Turner / Andersen)
  • Shot Down on the Night (Swindells)
  • Robot (Calvert / Brock – PXr5)
  • Spirit of the Age (Calvert – Quark Strangeness and Charm)
  • Flying Doctor (Calvert – 25 Years On)
  • Steppenwolf (Calvert – Amazing Sounds, Astounding Music)
  • Psi Power (Calvert, Brock – 25 Years On)
  • Dream worker (Bainbridge – Choose Your Masques)
  • Quark, Strangeness and Charm (Calvert – Quark Strangeness and Charm!)
  • Master of the Universe (Brock/Turner)
  • 25 Years (Brock – 25 Years On) (!)
  • Brainstorm (Turner – Doremi Fasol Latido)
Sadly I left before Quark, but a solid set, some good moments (Shot Down, Children of the Sun, Psi Power off the top of my head). Very Calvert heavy then consider that Shaw and Swindells were both playing in Hawkind at the time of the golden age of Calvert – PXR5, Quark and 25 Years and all makes sense.
I am glad I went and even picked up a Calvert tribute DVD from 2008 featuring the Hawklords and Krankschaft so stay tuned for a review!

About Tony Jones
Big Finish writer, reviewer and blogger, I'm interested in science fiction and Doctor Who. I review for CultBox, The Doctor Who Companion and others. I am also Lead Writer for Starburst Magazine, and write the occasional piece for Vortex, the BSFA critical magazine.

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