Hawkwind - "Notting Hill Gate 1970" (Bootleg LP, issued in London 1970, No other info)

From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)

Here at Space Station Studio our most used piece of equipment of late has become our CD writer, as your reviewer has begun to transfer the massive collection of live dates collected over a 25 year period on Cassette to CD! I hadn't listened to this show in ages, having collected over 600 Hawkwind dates, so I'd forgotten how good this show was! THIS IS THE REAL DEAL for anyone with fond memories of the band's early sound! It seems to have been recorded live at an unknown London location in late 1970, in between the brilliant 1st LP and "In Search of Space", and features the original lineup of Dave Brock (Guitars, Effects, Vocals), Huw Lloyd Langton (Guitars), John Harrison (BassGuitar), DikMik (Audio Generator), Nik Turner (Saxes and Flutes) and Terry Ollis (Drums). It appeared as a Bootleg LP and I understand it's so rare that not even Dave B possesses a copy!

The section that made it to LP begins with an Electronic Improvisation which sends the band into liftoff, and the riff for "You Shouldn't Do that" is utilized to take the band into full flight, with the BassGuitar & Guitars creating a platform for Nik's Saxophone and Flute. DikMik seems barely audible until you realize so much of the backdrop sound is being created by his Electronics! Drummer Ollis works like a great cosmic engine, pushing the band to extremely high energy levels! The chanted vocals finally appear, yet Dave never gets to deliver the main vocal lines because the band rockets along and to slow down and reduce the energy for the vocals doesn't seem possible! Throughout the jam the playing is wonderful with everyone in control of his instrument and dedicated to creating a group improvisation. Unfortunately, after about 20 minutes the side fades (remember, this was on LP originally and by the mid seventies LPs were able to deliver up to 30 minutes per side) as the jam begins to mutate to another rhythm pattern!

Part 2 again begins with an Electronic Improvisation, DikMik making his presence known as echoed Guitars swirl around and BassGuitar lays down the bottom, slashed by Terry Ollis' mallet-struck cymbals! A brief pause leads into "Be Yourself", taken at breakneck speed by the band. The playing here is so hard and intense in it's unanimity that one gets the impression that one person is playing all the parts, which to this writer is an affirmation of the highest intentions of doing music in a band context!

In days to come, as a new anti-establishment movement begins to take hold, I'll be pushing those concerned with moving the music back into positive directions will give this era of Hawkwind a close listen, or even better, that Brock and co will reissue this as it shows how substantial their contributions to the music are.

Reviewed by Doug Walker

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