Another 12hr marathon, this time 6pm to 6am. It was rumoured that Hawkwind would be playing 2 separate sets. I either missed The Chemistry Set, Drop and Nutmeg or they left insufficient imprints on my brain. Nothing to report. The 25th of May were a lively anarcho-punk-rap lot, rather angry and a bit out of place really. Entertaining though. Then the first of two psychedelic guitar bands I’d been angling to see for a while – Dr Phibes And The House Of Wax Equations. They played some very proficient psych rock, and the front man Howard King Jr was a very capable guitarist. I seem to remember thinking he was very Hendrix-esque, but I would like to think that it was his playing style that led me to that conclusion, rather than the fact that he was black. Dunno, too long ago. Then Levitation, House of Love guitarist Terry Bickers’ new band. They had been receiving a lot of press attention, and I was somewhat mystified as to why they were on the bill with Hawkwind, what with being an indie band and all, after half a song I realized they were a pretty good choice. They played a sort of Spacemen 3 soundscape sort of sound, less fuzzy and more prog and right up my street. Then RDF again – probably the best time I ever saw them. Really had the whole place grooving. It still amazes me that such a ‘collision’ of dub and poetry can be so danceable.
Then the first Hawkwind set. Nothing stands out except a very, very good version of Steppenwolf with Bridget Wishart doing all the vocals. I was initially very skeptical, and horrified that she was about to commit sacriledge but within a verse and a half, she had me hooked. Never really liked much of her other stuff, but Steppenwolf was the pinnacle of her career as far as I was concerned. I then somehow slept for 2 hrs on a staircase, in amongst piles of assorted army surplus gear and ripped up Rizla packets, and returned to the auditorium in time to see their second set. This time they had ex-keyboardist and true electronic leg-end Tim Blake on stage with them. He didn’t appear to bring a great deal to the proceedings, poncing round with a ‘keytar’, but at least it meant they played a few off Levitation, and Lighthouse too. They played mostly old stuff, and if I hadn’t been half-asleep I think I’d have appreciated the set a whole lot more. Overall, one of Hawkwind’s better shows.