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HAWKWIND Liverpool O2 Academy
10 December 2010

Hawkwind, photo by Keith Thompson

A fine double bill was in prospect with The Jokers returning to their home town. Playing material from their critically acclaimed solo album, 'The Big Rock and Roll Show,' they managed to strut around that stage with verve in the half hour allotted. Opening with the party starter, 'V.I.B.E' they also found time to play some of their more cultured songs like 'Hell to LA.'

The Beatles cover 'Helter Skelter' was an apt testament to the 30th anniversary of Lennon's murder. The Jokers concluded with 'Super Groover' which illustrates their instinct for a good hook line. The Jokers are a tight package with clear songwriting talent, a strong visual identity and will undoubtedly continue the hard climb upwards on the back of an excellent album and this level of exposure.

Mr Dibbs was in fact the first to appear for Hawkwind, elegantly dressed with combat helmet, head torch and 'Wiki Leaks' emblazoned across the front. The others also belied fashion sense, which is of course why were we all gathered in the first place.

Hawkwind, photo by Keith Thompson

We were quickly into gear with 'You Shouldn't Do That' and the scene was set. The band skipped from current album, 'Blood of the Earth' to classic material with aplomb, the highlights for me being 'Angels of Death' and 'Sentinel' which has Tim Blake's cosmic influence stamped all over it.

Hawkwind, photo by Keith Thompson

We waited for The Dancer and two arrived! They didn't just dance. We had angels of death, sentinels on ten foot stilts and robots. Credit then to Dave Brock for re- launching the band with a proper stage show that complemented the sonic assault on the senses.

Hawkwind, photo by Keith Thompson

My son is a sci fi buff, Moorcock in particular, and he was suggesting to me that these creations were not simply gratuitous adornment, but based on various images from SF masterpieces.

Hawkwind, photo by Keith Thompson

Mr Dibbs and Dave Brock handled most of the vocals including the spoken ones, 'Sonic Attack' and 'Warrior of the Edge of Time.' 'Spirits of the Age' probably received the biggest cheer and was executed in sympathy with the original.

Booming bass, hypnotic chants, swirly synths and audience participation in spades. Any misconception that Hawkwind had gone all ambient in 2010 was ceremonially dispelled. Hawkwind are allowed to experiment aren't they?

Hawkwind, photo by Keith Thompson

I was hoping they would play 'Hassan I Sabbha' but it was not to be on this occasion. We all have our faves, but the two pathetic hecklers to my right who hurled rude personal insults at Dave Brock for not playing their “requests” were at an age to know better. Thankfully they were drowned out by cheers.

I like this Hawkwind line up. It's certainly not a parody of the past. It's a living breathing organism that is tight yet unpredictable.

As regular readers will note, I am a stickler for value for money and Hawkwind played non-stop for two hours. In these troubled times, these gigs are worth their weight in gold. And, yes, my space cadet loved it too.

Review and photos by Keith Thompson

Keith presents 'Rockwaves' on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 21:00 More information

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