Thursday, November 28, 2019

Hawkwind- Royal Albert Hall, London Nov 26th, 2019

 This was the last gig for the bands 50th anniversary tour and there had been a lot of great reviews of the tour and the new album. My wife and I have seen Hawkwind a lot of times and were excited. We arrived early to find the box office and the tour bus was outside and out comes Richard so we can chat with him for a minute and he was very amused about Eric Clapton playing with them!  Dave came out and we said hello but he more or less said Hi and just kept on going.

Anyway, we had a nice meal at a pub not far away and met some great Scottish HW fans (Mike, Shawn, Peter, Paul). Lots of cool people. We met a couple who came all the way from the North of Sweden and later a guy who came all the way from Australia.  I thought we had come far. 

We had great seats just straight in front of Dave Brock in the first seated area. 20£ for 500ml of wine was crazy.. Sue got a t-shirt with the tour dates on it. A nice touch was there were these small Hawkwind flags with different album covers printed on them on the seats. I doubt they did all the different albums but I saw at least 10 different albums (Warrior, 1st, Doremi, Hall, Chronicles, Masters comp, Blood, Space Ritual, etc…)
Blackheart Orchestra opened as on the rest of the tour.  This duo makes nice music but does nothing to warm you up and certainly provides no challenge to Hawkwind.  A beautiful female singer with a nice voice and a guy who also sang well and played guitar, bass, but mostly keyboards. They had some pre-programmed stuff. They got a cordial welcome but no one really wanted to hear them. 

I thought the sound was really good where we sat but it was very low.  Never even hit 100db on the decibel meter at the sound board. IT was clear but lacked some balls.  At least for most of the set, Dave was loud and clear.  As they did on the whole tour, they started with Motorway City. Tim did a great job and is a massive boost to this line up although he plays most of the leads on synth that Dave used to play on guitar!  Fantastic lights and projections.  I had never seen them with lasers before. The Born to go into You shouldn’t do that and back into Born to Go was one of the highlights of the show and it was good they played it early but they played 4 of the new songs, two of which Magnus, the keyboard/guitar player sings, and they are quite boring songs.  Especially the long one, The Fantasy of Faldum, just drags. Lots of people went to the toilet as I did as the cue was massive. The new songs just don’t stand up to classic HW at all. So that was nearly a 3rd of the concert sort of wasted if you speak and just brought the energy down (except for the Flesh Fondue, which rocks but is actaully an old song called Star Cannibal)).  Phil Campbell from Motorhead joined for The Watcher (don’t care for the way Magnus sings it) and Silver Machine. Sadly, you could barely here his guitar contribution.  Assault and Battery-Golden Void was really nice to hear but I miss the great guitar solo. Tim does a long solo in Golden Void which is nice but still miss the guitar. The Blackheart Orchestra did some backing vocals during The Golden Void but were essentially inaudible. This would have been interesting with Eric Clapton the night before.  The show ended with The Right to Decide (Jah Wobble) did some backing vocals that you also basically could not hear)and Hurry on Sundown, which was a real highlight of the show for sure. Excellent.. Master of the Universe that was a bit jammed out. Phil joined again and he was even lower in the mix than before. Such a waste.  Dave finished it all off with a very short version of Welcome to the Future. It was about 1hr 45mins with no encore. The audience was really screaming but they did not come back out due to the time restrictions. 

Dave was singing extremely well considering they had like 10 gigs in a row before this last one. This being the biggest and most important on of the tour you would think Kris would have given him a day off. It is what it is and for 78 the guys still fucking rocks and is amazing.  Richard and Niall were just awesome as the rhythm section. Both play hard and heavy! Overall, it was a bit disappointing, one of the poorer of Hawkwind shows I have ever seen, mainly due to the new material. Still one of my favourite bands and I am glad that I came to the show.

Set List:  Motorway City, Flesh Fondue, Last Man on Earth, The song of the Gremlin (Spoken Word-Dave), Born to go-You shouldn’t do that- Born to Go, 65 million Years ago, Spirit of the age, The Fantasy of Faldum, The Watcher*, Silver Machine*, Assault and Battery, The Golden Void, The Right to Decide, Hurry on Sundown, Master of the Universe*, Welcome to the Future
 (* Phil Campbell)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Black Moon Circle Denmark-Norway Tour Nov 2019

Nov 3rd

I caught the bus in my home town to Lisboa with a change in Coimbra at 16. All was smooth so far except the bus driver decided to take the N17 instead of the highway and arrived at 17:35 instead of 17:05. A lot of people on this bus, including me were booked for the Lisboa bus at 17:30 and very stressed.  The bus waited for us and it was completely full but there was no time to get any food, pee or a drink.  Just straight on to the other bus.

Then.. there was incredible traffic on the A1 to Lisboa. We actually came to a complete stop several times. I had never seen so many cars on the toll road, ever! Insane.. Now we were a hour behind and then about 15mins away from the station, the driver pulls over and says she has gone past her limit or driving for the day. We have to wait 45mins for a fucking replacement driver to show up. So we arrive 2 hrs late. There was some very angry Eastern European people in the front of the bus who missed their airplane flight now. Insane.

I was so hungry and thirsty. Feeling a bit strange. It was only a 5.9€ taxi ride to the hostel and then I could find a restaurant but it was nearly 22 now!! I had a nice meal (I had sort of wanted fish but they talked me into veal) and a few beers and then straight back. This place is a dump though! The bed was one of the worst I had ever (tried) slept on. The springs are sticking up all over the bed, so no matter where you try to lay, you have a metal sticking you in the side, arm, legs.. stupid… small room with only a small window in the ceiling with rotting plaster and corroded metal frame. Very noisy, not a very nice bathroom, no towel… would not recommend this place even for 24€ a night for a double bed. 

Anyway, it is not raining today so far and my flight is not til 11. So I have lots of time now.  See how today goes.

Nov 4th

Sunset in Roskilde 
Arrived in Denmark without a problem. Plane left nearly 40mins late but only arrived 5-10mins late. Took 40mins and my bag was the 2nd to last to come off so by the time I got to my daughters it was 18:30..  It is much colder here than in Portugal.  We had a nice evening.

Nov 6th

Gray and wet out, 7C outside.  Not sure if I will go to CPH today or not? I will meet some friends tomorrow for some beers. I will go into town early and visit some stores, etc… eat at Sheik Shawarma or Kebabish??  We will see.  Working more on my book at the moment.

Nov 7th
 Woodstock, Christiania, DK 
SørenWoodstock, Christiania… 

I saw my daughter after work and then took the train to Copenhagen. I stopped at the Hostel to check us all in and drop off my suitcase and then off to Christiania.  It was about 1815 when I got there and the guys all arrived about the same time. The club was so smoky. Incredible. I had no idea how I would manage to be in that place playing music for 3 hrs???   Anyway, after some greetings we got down to business and BMC set up the gear and Jiri set up the mixer and connected to their PA speakers and set up a couple of monitors. I went to get some food and came back 10 mins later. This place is small so we were really packed in there. There was no soundcheck, really.  ØSC was playing first at 20.  All went pretty smooth and the ØSC line up was only a five piece and the new guitar player in Fri Galaxe, Jiri and Martin’s band, would play with us for the first time. He was a guy in mid 60s I guess and a really nice guy.  Anyway, ØSC started on time and played for nearly 2hrs. It was a cool concert with some great dynamics and Søren really went for it and played some wild solos and came up with some great starting guitar riffs.  Fun show..
Woodstock audience

Took about 30mins and BMC was ready to roll. Simon was squished in the corner by the door to do liquid lights for the totally stoned and wasted people in Woodstock. They were entranced for sure.. Anyway, we opened with the Ghost. Daniel would like to start with this song every night but we like to change it around not get stuck in any routines. This keeps it fresh for us and we keep all of our repertoire alive.. It was fucking loud and I had forgot my moulded earplugs so I had to use those yellow EAR ones and they block out all the frequencies where the modular synth is so it was tough.  The place was pretty full but not as many people as earlier.  We played only 4 songs on this night including the new on Monster Serpent that we are enjoying a lot. It was a fun night and great to see Jiri and Martin and some friends that came to see us and me. Very few old friends showed up, sadly. IT was a late night, 2 by the time we got back to the hostel and we have to be on the road by 10.

Set List: The Ghost, American Eagle, Monster Serpent, Enigmatic Superbandit
Nov 8th-  Vaterland, Oslo, Norway

 We had a great gig here in March and it is a cool club. The drive was pretty uneventful and we arrived just on time at 18. The other bands were also just outside the club. Super nice people.  This was going to be a special night. Orsak:Oslo were opening with a 40min set and then BMC for an hour and then a special BMC meets Kanaan jam.  Rob, the Australian guy was still the soundman so this was excellent. He is great and friendly and works hard to make everything perfect for the musicians.

All went well and we had an excellent pizza from downstairs (probably the best in Oslo). I like the one called Satan.  So did the other guys.  They provided a few cases of Hansa beer but I think it tastes bad. I only had 2-3 the whole night. They have a lot of great craft beers on tap but they are super expensive, the cheapest is 128kr, I think and up to 169kr.. That is nearly 17€ for a single beer! Crazy..

            Orsak:Oslo are a four piece instrumental band. The drummer only had a high hat and ride cymbal, which I found interesting.  The main guitar player played some really cool effected guitar with a nice flanger that he used on a couple of tracks.  The set was pretty diverse and more rock than the album I heard on bandcamp which I thought was kind of boring.  They were quite good.

BMC hit the stage a little after 22 as planned and we opened with Jack’s Cold Sweat, which is a fun one to play but we don’t play it that much anymore.  It was fewer people this time (62 paid compared with 82 last time in March) but a good crowd and they were really into it. There were so many amps on the stage going all the way to the ceiling there was virtually no where for Simon to project, which was  a pity.  Anyway, we had some very cool jams and a good set. Everyone enjoyed it.  Daniel was a little off though with the tempos on a few of the songs. I think he probably smoked and drank too much before the gig.

Set List: Plains, Jack’s Cold Sweat, Monster Serpent, The Ghost

Next the Kanaan guys set up their pedals (bass and guitar, the 2nd drum kit was set up at soundcheck) and we had a little 15min break.  Daniel was pretty tired after the set but he was forced to really kick ass with the young fresh drummer as most of the stuff we had in the jams was pretty uptempo and fucking loud! Two drum kits, two bass players, two guitar players and me on synth. IT was really fun and the audience really enjoyed it. Two guys came up after the show and said it was the show of the year, better than any they had seen at Høstsabbat! High praise. It makes you feel so good when you hear that. Wow.. That is what makes playing music all worth it in the end, considering all the hassles and expenses and difficulties one goes through just to pull gigs off.

Nov 9th- Lobbyen, Trondheim

It was a late night and a long drive to Trondheim. The weather was terrible with snow and ice leaving Oslo. Thankfully it was clearing up as we moved north and then there was no snow as we got toward Trondheim.  I drove the first couple of hours and then Daniel drove and then Vemund took over for the last 90mins.

Anyway, we arrived at the club a little later than we were expected. Anyway, this load in, set up went very fast but the soundcheck took forever. It was not a very experienced sound guy but he was super nice (and he did a great job if you listen to the recording!).  They had redone the club since we last played here. It was much nicer now and a bigger stage than last night. I was still pushed nearly behind the PA.  All went well. We had pizza again and some beers.

Glydenløve (The Golden Lion- below) were the opening act. This was Simon’s new band. A four piece playing instrumental rock and roll with a slight metal edge and some 70s inspiration.  This was there debut gig in a club. They had only played private parties before. Anyway, they rocked!! IT was super loud though and the guitar and bass were way too loud for the stage so you hardly heard the drums at all.  There was about 50 people. They started right at 22.

BMC, we hit the stage at 2230 and opened with Machine on the Hill. I had wanted to play it on the last tour but we never managed. Anyway this was great and the new way we play it is cool. It is not as long as it used to be. Then Enigmatic Superbandit, Monster Serpent, The Ghost and we knocked them dead with Warp Speed. Not as long a version as at Desertfest.  I think it was about 75mins.  Vemund was on fire this night. We had a really good response from the audience and Torgir, who owns the record label that most of the BMC stuff is released on, thought it was the best he had ever seen the band. That the sound was really complete and I was more integrated into the song structures, etc..  He was happy. There were some photographers but I don’t think it was video taped. We had one other recording as well that we will get but no multitrack (of any of the gigs).
Great tour but not sure how successful it was money wise as we had less people than last time we played in both Oslo and Trondheim. We sold out the last of the shirts now but only 3-4 records each night and maybe 1-2 of the CD boxes. We don’t sell a lot on tour at all, which is a pity.  This was the last gig probably until May or something. IT has been a great year for BMC and I think we made a lot of new fans this year.