Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Hawkwind Knights of Space|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NTSC/Region 0. Two DVD set featuring full 1 1/2 hour concert filmed live at The Astoria, London in December 2007 plus a bonus DVD of extras. The band's line-up includes founder and ever present leader, Dave Brock and the r... more »
Fine performance, pro camera work, a bit pricy
S. Joy | New Haven, Connecticut | 09/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's assume you already know Hawkwind to be a legendary psychedelic rock band that somehow has persisted for nearly 40 years despite (or because of?) innumerable personnel changes and failure to crack the US market.
Okay: It's late 2007. Long-serving bassist Alan Davey quit the band suddenly last summer (right before their first US tour in ages - argh!) and was hastily replaced by tech Mr. Dibs, who, though competent, is a weak link for a band that has known the basswork of Davey or Lemmy (!) for most of its long lifetime. But sometime later, Tim Blake (late of Gong, and sometime guest gigger in years past) signs on - wow! Here's someone who can interface effectively with guitarist/leader Dave Brock and even has a dynamic stage presence. So the band sets up a series of year's-end gigs culminating in their annual Astoria concert, which gets professionally filmed. That's the DVD on offer.
Well, they put on a good show. The expected amazing light display (better than the one they bring to the US), sporadic appearances by interpretive dancers, but mostly music. As so often with Hawkwind, the new boys get a lot of time in the limelight. Mr. Dibs does a decent (almost reverential) job with some of Calvert's poems (such as The Awakening), supplemented by spacy background music. I'm not so sure about his singing (so many of the songs, too) but rumor has it Dave Brock was fighting some mystery bug, so maybe he was taking it easy on his voice (he does sing some key numbers, though). The bass playing is decent, though not thrilling. Blake is amazing on "keytar" and theremin (yeah, that odd electronic instrument from the 1950s science fiction movies). Really, all eyes (and often ears) are on him as he caresses the invisible energy field surrounding the theremin's wand. Because you also have Jason Stuart on keyboards, the whole Hawkwind sound shifts in a keyboard-driven direction, more harmonic/melodic than the bass/drum/rhythm guitar driven sound typical of Davey's days. I kinda miss the wild ferocity (in a way, they sound more like a 70s band here than they did then!), but these guys cook up a rich jam (electric black currant flava) - Brock works well with Blake on several numbers, while Stuart performs remarkable feats off to one side. What's mostly missing is a single dominant singer. Brock is great, but maybe a little off his feed; the others are just okay in this department. Still, you get one heck of a show. It includes classics like Master of the Universe and Silver Machine (an amazing final encore number), a selection of older pieces (Orgone Accumulator, Paradox) and Calvert-era numbers (Damnation Alley, Flying Doctor, Aerospace Age Inferno) a few newer ones (Space Love, Lighthouse, Alien I Am), and some spoken pieces (Sonic Attack, Welcome to the Future). Some of the transitions are odd, but it's a nicely balanced selection on the whole, and delivered very well indeed.
The sound seems okay to me, though I don't have super-fancy speakers on the computer or television set. You can pick out indicvidual instruments and all that. Brock's microphone seems to go a bit quiet on his singing in Master of the Universe, and there are a couple of other little tech-headache moments, but nothing to warrant the angry rant offered by another reviewer. Maybe it isn't quite good enough for a CD, but when you're watching them perform, it's great.
It was a bit expensive for a simple concert shoot, but I guess it was expensive to make (lots of cameras, good photography) and it can't have that large an audience. Still, some liner notes or bonus features would have been welcome. (No, there was no extra DVD as advertised above.)"
Terrible sound quality!
Bob Calvert | USA | 08/21/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Avoid or you'll be sorry! The sound quality is stunningly BAD! Richard Chadwick vocals are absolutely horrible ! He sounds like my cat whining when he get sick! Dave Brock ,after releasing the terrible sound quality past cds Complete 79, Choose Your Masques 1982, Live Glastonbury 90 ,etc., and now this horrible sound quality cd , you have now driven off more fans ,including this one,than even Dave Anderson did with his numerous re-issues of the horrible Yuri Gargarian CD . Last time you fool me for my hard earned money!"