It’s been a while since I’ve been the youngest person at a gig, but that seemed the case as I stood amongst fans of 70s space-rock legends Hawkwind at Leeds refectory.
“The last time Hawkwind played here was 26 years ago” says Mr Dibs (otherwise known as Jonathan Darbyshire). All this time later, and despite Dave Brock being the only original member, the band were as good as ever. The only difference seemed to be the lack of semi-naked exotic dancers, but a huge screen projecting trippy images of space, woodland and dystopian futures brought Hawkwind’s psychedelia into the 21st century.
Hawkwind performed a career spanning set, blending classics such as ‘Assault and Battery’ and ‘Golden Void’ with songs from their upcoming album Into the Woods. However, my personal favourite was when Mr Dibs screamed “hashish hashish hashish” during ‘Hassan I Sahba’ as giant cannabis leaves projected from the screen behind; a visual and musical highpoint of the gig, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Following cries of “encore”, the band finished on one of their most famous numbers, ‘Silver Machine’. Despite the absence of Lemmy’s iconic vocals, the classic was well received amongst the mass of fans, who no doubt supported Hawkwind from the very beginning. As one of the most important proto-punk bands, influencing the likes of the Sex Pistols, I consider myself privileged to have witnessed such an influential band perform live. And of course, Hawkwind are still relevant now. The fact that support came from the young and talented Bradford band Glass Mountain represents their influence on the emergence of new, exciting, alternative bands.
As a band often overlooked, I only hope that more people listen to Hawkwind and appreciate them for the hippy, trippy psyche legends they are.