Gig review: Hawkwind/Focus, Glasgow

Still rocking: Dave Brock is still at Hawkwind's psychedelic helm, 45 years on. Picture: Dave Law

Still rocking: Dave Brock is still at Hawkwind's psychedelic helm, 45 years on. Picture: Dave Law

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THIS primo prog rock double feature attracted a meeting of styles, tribes and even ages – testament to headliners Hawkwind’s continuing capacity to traverse musical boundaries and chime with different movements and generations.

Hawkwind/Focus

ABC, Glasgow

***

The benevolent Dave Brock is still at the helm after 45 years, presiding over their varied and surprisingly sustainable diet of space rock, psych folk, pagan punk (courtesy of their mean biker bassist with the disarming tenor voice) and trancey electronica elements.

While their brand of cosmic noodle has aged rather well, their pick ‘n’ mix approach to imagery, including UV backdrops and a spectrum of spiritual symbols and political slogans, dated the show, as did their tradition of using a pseudo-shamanic female dancer who, in this instance, offered a Rocky Horror dance interlude, an aerial routine on the silks and interpretative dance with a voluminous cape.

Despite throwing all these visuals, the overall performance sounded slightly constrained, at least until the band cut loose on a closing acid wigout with violin and theremin and a propulsive encore of Orgone Accumulator and Spirit of the Age.

Dutch outfit Focus remain more of a novel period piece, though there was an infectious joy in witnessing irrepressible founder member Thijs van Leer ramping up the ecclesiastical pomp on his well-loved Hammond organ, trilling away on the flute and taking a fair crack at those trademark yodelling arpeggios on their bonkers hit Hocus Pocus, while wisely playing rather than singing its skyscraping ascending scale.

Seen on 04.03.15

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