The blues-tinged retro rock flavours that are an inherent part of The Jokers' overall sound makes them an apposite choice of support act for Hawkwind's 2010 UK tour and the fun vibe conveyed through their show works as a nice contraposition to the seriousness of the space rock legend's music. Tonight is actually the second occasion I've caught the Liverpudlian quartet live this year, the first being at Fozzy's Nottingham gig in May, and the band's personnel has altered slightly with a new drummer in their fold. Appearing on stage five minutes after their scheduled slot, they waste no time in getting down to business as they launch into opening number 'V.I.B.E.' and make the most of their half hour with an up tempo set of comprised of material mainly lifted from debut album, and sole full-length release to date, 'The Big Rock & Roll Show' including 'Shake', 'Hell to LA', 'Get Down & Jam', 'Super Groover' and 'Studio 54'. A nod towards their Scouse roots manifests with a heavied-up cover of The Beatles' 'Helter Skelter' which is preceded by a series of guitar licks by Paul Hurst before he lies down on the stage to be 'battered' with Jokers Jet's bass. Throughout, Wane Parry has all the right moves in his role as frontman, and a powerful singing voice, while his fellow band members have an equally dynamic stage presence. However, The Jokers' energy is not reciprocated within the Engine Shed's audience, who seem a little subdued, but I guess the nature of Hawkwind's music attracts such a crowd. That said, there are some who clap along when prompted to do so, and a small number of people who move around a little to the groove of The Jokers' music. Despite playing to a largely static audience, the Liverpudlian four piece put on a mightily fine display of highly charged rock.
Monday 6th December 2010
The Engine Shed in Lincoln, UK
Reviews & Photography by Mark Holmes
Click on thumbnails for larger images:
Formed just over forty years ago, only founding member Dave Brock remains from Hawkwind's original inception, and tonight is Lincoln's turn to experience the band's distinctive space rock sounds as their December 2010 UK tour in support of new album 'Blood of the Earth' arrives in the Engine Shed. With pre-sales at only around 500, the 1,500 capacity venue is truncated midway with a makeshift partition wall, lending a more intimate air to the evening's proceedings. Monitor speakers and band members are positioned a fair way back from the front of the stage, which leaves ample room for two performance artistes, Steff and Laura, who appear sporadically throughout Hawkwind's two hour set, attired in different costumes apposite for the songs' themes to which they gracefully dance and move around. This isn't just space rock, this is space rock theatre! A large projection screen behind drummer Richard Chadwick displays a variety of hypnotically animated images, and married with the captivating, trance like qualities of the music that fills the Engine Shed, the overall effect is both spellbinding and mermeric. And Hawkwind lure in the audience from the off with opener 'You Shouldn't Do That' from 1971 sophomore album 'In Search of Space' - its lengthy instrumental passages with quasi-dissonant undertones and entrancing mid-tempo grooves mark the first appearance of Steff and Laura who are dressed in accessorised latex body suits, and one can't help but become absorbed within the band's theatrical aesthetic. Setlist-wise, it's the older material which is best received by the audience with the likes of 'Lord of Light', 'Spirit of the Age', 'Robot', 'Angels of Death' and 'Sonic Attack' pleasing long-time fans present tonight, and the latter sees Brock don a pair of reading glasses to recite the Michael Moorcock penned spoken word piece. The new album tracks aired, including 'Wraith', 'Prometheus' and 'Sentinel' are also popular setlist choices with the Engine Shed crowd, but it's the older tunes that are greeted with a more discernible enthusiasm as cheers greet songs a couple of bars in. Of all the current members in the present day incarnation of Hawkwind, ex-Gong member Tim Blake is impressive tonight, occasionally taking centre stage with his keytar and demonstrates masterful control over a theremin placed by the side of his synth as he adeptly plays both instruments. Chadwick also turns in a great performance behind his kit, particularly over the passages which he sings, proving himself to have one great voice and, dare I say, a much better vocalist than newer member Mr Dibs whose singing occasionally strays off-key. It is Dave Brock himself, however, who has a commanding stage presence, presiding over this heterogeneous theatre, alternating between keyboards and guitar, with his laid-back performance apt for the Hawkwind's music. Wrapping up proceedings with pre-encore set closer 'Brainstorm' and then reappearing a couple of minutes later for 'You'd Better Believe It', the band exit the stage to loud and appreciative applause and cheers. Never has two hours seemed to pass by so quickly at a gig. Such is the nature of Hawkwind's absorbing sonics and fully engrossing show. An incredible performance from a legendary band.
Click on thumbnails for larger images: