Below Hawkwind's groggy groove there's still a belligerent punk energy at work...

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Hawkwind: London Astoria

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Hawkwind: London Astoria

Welcome once more to the church of the poisoned mind. We may be a mere three days off Arthur C.Clarke’s vision of 2001, but tonight the Astoria is full to the rafters with the gnarled veterans of the early seventies space-rock campaigns, swapping acid-flashbacks and leafing through the banks of Michael Moorcock sci-fi novels for sale in the upstairs bar as if, well, there’s no

tomorrow.

The timewarp begins at eight. The lights go down, a bedraggled crew of fiftysomethings drift unceremoniously on stage and before you know it, the

whole place is willing itself on toward one more sonic seance. Woozy stuff, then, until you realise your ears are throbbing and the band are lurching into the strangled sax and sheet-metal guitars of ‘Warriors At The Edge Of Time’ like someone’s set your head on fire.

Because, bizarre as it seems, below Hawkwind’s groggy groove there’s still a belligerent punk energy at work which has managed to retain an all-ages crowd and signpost the way for everyone from Spiritualized to Mogwai. Contrary to the last, they end not with the customary ‘Silver Machine’, but with a gritty blues called ‘Hashish’ which, were the combined effects of acid-rock and marijuana smoke deadly, would surely have wiped out half of the West End.

Hawkwind, then: approach, as ever, with caution.

Paul Moody