Hawkwind as very few people have heard them... For hard-core HawkFans only...
Venue: Barnstaple Queens Hall (now known as Queens Theatre)
Date: 10 July 1976
AUD: internal mic
Lineage: original cassette tape > 2nd gen tape (1976) > WAV (2006: Cakewalk GTP) >
Run time: 14 mins. Bits of the gig.
There'd normally be little point in releasing a rather sound-distorted 14-mins tape of a post-75 Hawkwind gig, as there's at least one decent recording around from every tour from 1976 on. However, I think the July 1976 gig was unique. This was an isolated summer gig, falling inbetween the big spring and autumn tours of '76, and maybe Brock was feeling experimental - it exceeded even the Greasy Truckers 1971 gig for for the intensity of the spacey interlinks. This is Hawkwind as very few people have ever heard them, devastatingly cosmic.
If anyone's heard a more noisy and dramatic version of The Awakening - anywhere, ever - then I'll be amazed. And Brock's guitaring on the start of Brainstorm has the intensity of a brace of road drills, but Calvert's vocals can be heard, albeit deep down in the mix. The audio overload of the microphone doubtless has a bearing on the sound of the guitar here.
Recording history at the time:
The first 40 mins of the gig were taped using a portable cassette recorder and its internal mic, down near the right-hand speaker stack. Given this - and that information is enough to make an audiophile cringe - the sound's surprisingly clear. We're not talking early 70s bass-swamped murk, here. (The reason only 40 mins was taped was that we forgot to turn the casette over.)
Graham: "I was holding [the cassette deck] at the start. During Golden Void I wanted to dance around so I put it on this table near the speakers. The guy sitting there gave me a funny look but then ignored it."
A few days later, swooshy highlights of that tape were copied to another casette, for someone who wanted to hear the spacey interlinks, and then - a few days after that, the master tape was lost somewhere in the east Devon countryside. So only this 14-min highlights tape survives.
(Note to all Devon farmers: if you find a 30-year-old C90 cassette tape marked 'Hawkwind' in one of your fields, can you please return it to us, thanks...)
Alan Powell & Simon King
1 ASSAULT - start // end (2:20 total) //
2 G VOID - middle // end (3:30 total) - continues with The Awakening...
3 THE AWAKENING & part of OPA LOKA (2:26) //
4 SPACEY INTERLINK (2:52) - continues with Brainstorm...
5 BRAINSTORM (start) (1:10) //
6 SPACEY INTERLINK (0:45) //
7 STEPPENWOLF (start // middle) (1:16)
total time 14:24