Posts Tagged ‘Psychedelic Rock’

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown Whitley Bay Playhouse 26 May 2022

arthur tixWelcome to the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. A rare treat experienced by a group of middle-aged (and older) followers, along with some younger devotees, in the seaside town of Whitley Bay. Even Arthur partook in some fish and chips and found them to be to his liking. This is the show that Arthur always wanted to deliver to us. The vision was always there. Back in the early days where he ascended up on a crane wearing his crown of flames at the Plumpton Jazz Festival or when I was so lucky to experience a performance by his band Kingdom Come in the early 1970s at Wearmouth Hall, Sunderland Polytechnic Students Union and he emerged from a coffin, was tied to a massive cross and was dragged off stage in a straitjacket. I thought it was one of the weirdest and craziest things I had ever witnessed. Now technology has enabled Arthur to deliver the full concept to us in all its splendour.

arthur bdgThe first half consisted of Arthur performing the majority of his first Crazy World of Arthur Brown album, including “Fire Poem” which leads into his anthem “Fire!” Everyone knows this one: “I am the God of hellfire and I bring you – – – Fire! I take you to burn”. The reaction of people when I told them I was going to see Arthur Brown. “Who is he?”, or “is he still around?” When reminded most people did remember “Fire!” He also included some new material and some classic Kingdom Come songs. Lots of costume changes. And, a real crown of fire! That is something I have never seen him wear before. Psychedelic backdrop showing liquid lens videos of Arthur in his prime in the late 1960s. Mannequins wearing spooky masks. The band wearing crazy costumes and headgear with feathers just as I remember Kingdom Come back 50 years ago. Gauze, flimsy, drapes adorning the stage.arthur 4

Arthur creeping about and moving off and on stage during costume changes. A theremin with its own mannequin and spooky, psychedelic sounds. Swirling, 1960s Hammond organ. In other words the full concept. Psychedelic. Fully encaptivating. Crazy. Drawing us into his crazy world. Amazing. Strong screams. Deep, soaring operatic voice.

Arthur reveals he is 80 next month. He is fit, lean and dances like a whirling dervish. His voice is as strong as ever. He finishes the first set with the classic “Time Captives” which I have seen him sing several times with Hawkwind. My friend Norman just reminded me of this and the time we went to see them (Arthur and Hawkwind, that is) at the Magna Centre in Sheffield. Everyone dressed as robots! Now that was a crazy evening as well.arthur 1

“Without Arthur Brown there would be no Alice Cooper”: Alice Cooper. “Arthur Brown has the Voice ofarthur 5 Death”: Bruce Dickinson – Iron Maiden. “Arthur Brown was a man ahead of his time”: Elton John. “Arthur Brown is as much a dancer as he is a singer”: Pete Townshend – The Who. (All quotes from Arthur’s website)

The second half is just as encaptivating. Less costume changes, just as crazy dancing. A medley of Arthur’s roots. “Be Bop a Lula”, “Hey sinner man where you gonna run to?” Some obscure; many crazy. He finishes with “this one you will know”: Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”. I have seen Arthur perform this Dylan classic several times. I remember David and I went to see Arthur at the Compass Club in Whitby (Arthur’s hometown) and he emerged from the back of the hall dressed all in black with a large top hat and banging a long staff on the ground singing this song. His treatment is immaculate. And then he is gone. Leaving us with memories of his crazy world and a night spent in the company of a true artist who has just shared with us his vision of madness, darkness and Fire! The crowd gave him a standing ovation, which is richly deserved. Laura declared it “amazing”. The last time we saw him together was at York Fibbers club more than 10 years ago. But this was the pinnacle. Thank you Arthur for an amazing evening. But then why would I expect anything less?arthur3

Many thanks to Jackie for her exquisite photographs and Chris for helping me back into my bed. A final memory. When I was 12 years old, with my Christmas money I treated myself to two albums. The first was the Who’s Tommy double album rock opera. The second was Tyrannosaurus Rex and their second album Phrophets, Seers and Sages; The Angels of the Agesarthur 2. The third was, of course, Arthur Brown’s first album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. I loved that album and played it and played it. One omission, Arthur, if I dare to be so greedy: I wish you had played Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” from that album. But then you can’t always get what you want (now there’s another song!)

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Newcastle City Hall 3 May 2022

NICK TIXNick Mason, drummer of Pink Floyd fame, has assembled a band of fine musicians to go out on the road and play a wonderful set of early Pink Floyd classic songs, many from the Syd Barrett era. As soon I heard of this development, I was intrigued and could not resist going to say then when a north-east gig was announced some time ago. The concert had been rearranged, due to Covid, so I was keenly waiting for this event to actually take place.

NICK 2Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets are an English rock band formed in 2018 to perform the early music of Pink Floyd. The band comprises Pink Floyd drummer and co-founder Nick Mason, bassist Guy Pratt, guitarists Gary Kemp and Lee Harris, and keyboardist Dom Beken. As many fans had discovered Pink Floyd with their bestselling 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon, Mason wanted to bring their earlier material to a wider audience.”(From Wikipedia). Bassist Guy Pratt was a member of a later incarnation of Pink Floyd and Gary Karen was, of course, a founder member of 1980s band Spandau Ballet.

The stage was set out with Nick Mason in the centre (very much the star of the show and the evening), surrounded by his band of musicians. Behind, and around them, was a very appropriate backdrop of psychedelic liquid lens images; setting the scene for an evening of early psychedelic rock. Fantastic. We arrived just in time to experience an amazing version of “One Of These Days”, the opening track of Meddle, and the very same song which I saw Pink Floyd play in the City Hall in early 1972. This was followed by going back in time to the classic Syd Barrett NICK 1song “Arnold Layne”. The band did a great job of recreating the music, ethos and atmosphere of these early classics. Gary Kemp in particular, is to be applauded for his tremendous guitar work and vocals. Indeed, each member of the band is clearly an accomplished musician and together they stunned the crowd with a concert which was authentic to the original Pink Floyd musical textures. The rest of the first set comprised a mixture of songs from early Floyd albums including less well-known tracks such as “Obscured by Clouds” and the wonderful “Remember a Day”. The first half of the show concluded with an uplifting, mesmerising version of “Set the Controls for the Heart of the sun”, complete with drum rhythms and gongs. Another song which I remember Floyd performing at that 1972 concert which now seems eons away in the distant past. The instrumentals were particularly well performed. A short interval followed during which I had time to partake in a pint of Hobgoblin (no Guinness, sadly).

NICK 4The second half opened by taking us right back to the start with classic guitar-based tunes “Interstellar Overdrive” and “Astronomy Domine”, two of my favourite early Pink Floyd tracks. We were then treated to a few less known, at least by me, songs and the second set ended with Barrett’s “Lucifer Sam” and Meddle’s standout track, Pink Floyd favourite, “Echoes”. A very appropriate closer for an excellent selection of songs.

But the crowd wouldn’t let the band leave without the song many of us were waiting to hear. For the first time I was treated to a live version of “See Emily Play”. So many memories bounced around in my head; mainly of loving the tune so much in the early 1970s when it was played constantly at Sunderland Locarno (with everyone running onto the dancefloor, except me, to do crazy handwaving hippy dances). Then more faultless instrumental psychedelic meanderings with “a Saucerful of Secrets” and the final closer Syd Barrett’s quirky, childlike tune “Bike”. David, Elaine and I all agreed it was a great concert.

NICK 5I treated myself to a signed drum skin and a T-shirt (sadly no programme). Many thanks to David for his expert photography and to Elaine and Chris for placing me safely into my bed at the end of a great evening. Thank you Nick for putting together a band worthy of the songs, their leader and the band name. Classic. Happy days.

Setlist: One of These Days; Arnold Layne; Fearless; Obscured by Clouds; Candy and a Currant Bun; Vegetable Man; If; Atom Heart Mother; If (reprise); Remember a Day; Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.

Interval

Interstellar Overdrive; Astronomy Domine; The Nile Song; Burning Bridges; Childhood’s End; Lucifer Sam; Echoes.

Encore: See Emily Play; A Saucerful of Secrets; Bike

Hawkwind Sage Gateshead 20th October 2018

Hawkwind returned to the Sage with a fantastic show which only they could produce. hawks tix2This extravaganza had everything a Hawk fan such as myself could dream of; the band played a set of classy psychedelic rockers which spanned their entire career coupled with a new concept album The Road to Utopia, an orchestra conducted by super Womble Mike Batt and return of their old friend and my own hero, Arthur Brown. What more could an old, knackered, true Hawk connoisseur ask for?

So we took our seats (me literally, as the Sage kindly removes a seat to make space for my wheelchair); carer Hannah and I for this never to be forgotten Hawk experience. For me, this was one in a long series of experiences of both Hawkwind and Arthur Brown concerts; for Hannah it was her first experience of both (and she had also never heard any of the music of either performers). The concert began with an expanded, extended, dynamic version of “Assault and Battery”; a song which once seemed new to me and now has earned its place as a true Hawkwind classic. Captain Brock remains at the helm, as always, but gone is long time band member Mr Dibs; the Hawkwind family continues to change over time, but the spirit and the soul of the band remains as true to its psychedelic roots as ever. arthur brown

The orchestra added a new dimension to the songs. This, complemented by excellent lighting effects, a laser show and a backdrop displaying a Futurescape of the road to Utopia, made for an experience on a different level to previous Hawkwind concerts.

Arthur Brown was as manic as ever, his booming operatic voice taking the songs to a new level. His narrative to “Sonic Attack” gave the song new relevance in an age where we were about to be thrown into a world with a future as unknown as ever before. His costume changes were as bizarre as always, the long staff returned to be banged on the stage floor and his silver foil hat and cape was my favourite. We sat transfixed Hannah (yes she loved it) and I; the whirring, swirling sounds weaving their magic around us. The encores were “Spirit of the Age”, “Hymn to the Sun” and (of course) a tremendous, thundering, majestic closing song “Silver Machine”. Mesmerising. Video

Setlist: Assault and Battery; The Golden Void; Shot Down in the Night; Paradox; We Took the Wrong Step Years Ago; The Black Corridor; The Watcher; Sonic Attack; Damnation Alley; Zarozinia; Intro the Night; Down Through the Night; Have You Seen Them; Arrival in Utopia. Encore: Spirit of the Age; Hymn to the Sun; Silver Machine.

 

Hawkwind Sage Gateshead 18th April 2016

I have been a great fan of Hawkwind for many many years, since I first saw them in the early 1970s. I followed the band throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but foolishly lost faith in my Hawk heroes during the 1990s, but returned to the fold around 20 years ago and have seen them several times ever since. In recent years I have tried to catch every visit they make to the North-East of England.hawkwind_pic_1294320474-1380x269
On this occasion they turned up in the glorious surroundings of the Sage Gateshead, in the larger Hall, Hall 1, and the downstairs area was almost full. These days, the band is led by original member Dave Brock and the psychedelic warlords usually take us through a set which draws from throughout their back catalogue of psycho beat favourites. However, this time things are different and we were treated to a new album and a new concept.

This time the concept was: “Hawkwind present The Machine Stops Tour – A live concept show from their new studio album based on the sci-fi classic. E.M. Forster’s dystopian vision of the future is brought to life in classic Hawkwind style through a spectacular array of music, lights, dance and visual effects. Join the legendary Lord of space Rock Dave Brock and Hawkwind on their journey from the surface of this world, to the centre of the next…with time for a few old favourites along the way. ” (Tour promotional information). forster

“”The Machine Stops” is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review (November 1909), the story was republished in Forster’s The Eternal Moment and Other Stories in 1928. In 1973 it was included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two. The story, set in a world where humanity lives underground and relies on a giant machine to provide its needs, predicted technologies similar to instant messaging and the Internet.” (Wikipedia).

I was a bit unsure as to how much I would enjoy the show, given everything was new to me. However the concept and the visuals supported a set of new songs which flowed together well, and I thoroughly enjoyed the new show. I was pleased to hear my old favourite “Silver machine” as the final encore. All in all, this was another great concert by Hawkwind.hawk tix

Setlist: All Hail the Machine; The Machine; Katie; King of the World; In My Room; Thursday;    Synchronised Blue; Hexagone; Living on Earth; The Harmonic Hall; Yum Yum; A Solitary Man; Tube;    Lost in Science; Orgone Accumulator; Utopia. Encore: You’d Better Believe It; Silver Machine

Hawkwind 50th anniversary tour York Grand Opera House 11th November 2019

Time passes so quickly. It seems only a glimpse of an eye and yet it is so many years ago since I first saw Hawkwind. There I was. A young boy, running to the front of Newcastle City Hall to pick up Joss sticks and copies of International Times magazine and give them out to the crowd. They had been handed to me by, I think, Nik Turner. I sat mesmerised with my old buddy John watching swirling lights and listening to strange psychedelic beats while a naked Stacia danced in front of us. A few months later I was in Sunderland Locarno experiencing the Space Ritual tour. Happy happy days. hawkwind ticket
So I had to go to this one. 50 years of Hawkwind; still led by our Captain, David Brock and still mesmerising us with that pounding, swirling beat that only these psychedelic warlords can provide. The nearest date was in the splendid York Grand Opera House, a venue I have visited before to see Blackmore’s Night.
The trip to York was a bit of an adventure with a taxi ride to Durham station, a train to York and then a taxi to the venue. This all worked well and Lisa and I arrived at the venue in plenty of time. We had a drink in the Ken Dodd bar (the Opera House was apparently his favourite venue) and waited for the concert to begin. Our seats were close to the front, with me in my wheelchair at the end of the row. Although we were at the end we had quite a good view of the stage. Support came from The Blackheart Orchestra whose enchanting, dark tunes set the scene and the tone for the evening. After a short interval, Hawkwind took to the stage and delighted us with a set drawn from across their full 50 year career. The current line up of Hawkwind contains leader and original member Dave Brock,IMG_0623 hawk 1 longtime drummer Richard Chadwick, Old friend and wizard Tim Blake on keyboards and theremin, along with (relatively) new members Niall Hone on bass and Magnus Martin on guitar and keyboards. So we are treated to some of my favourite Hawk tunes including “Spirit of the Age”, “Born to Go” and of course “Silver Machine.” For the encore we wind back 50 years to the first album and “Hurry on Sundown.” Then another of my all-time favourites “Master of the Universe”, by which time we are on our way out, panicking and waiting for the taxi with 10 minutes to go for our train. The taxi arrives just in time! Then it’s a quick dash along the platform in York station, having navigated lifts down and back up again, and two friendly guys are waiting with a ramp to get me back onto the train. Although they are arguing a little as neither have been “trained to use the new ramp!” They managed to use it and we take our seats on the train for the short ride back up to Durham, where our friendly Station taxis guy awaits us. A short ride to pick up Chris and I am helped back to bed after experiencing another wonderful night with my hawk heroes. Happy days are here again. 🙂IMG_0622 hawk 2

Setlist: Motorway City; Flesh Fondue; Last Man on Earth; The Song of the Gremlin; Born to Go; 65 Million Years Ago; In the Beginning; Spirit of the Age; The Fantasy of Faldum; Silver Machine; Assault and Battery; The Golden Void; Right to Decide. Encore: Hurry On Sundown; Master of the Universe; Welcome to the Future.