Hatfield And The North: Access All Areas

On CD and DVD, a rare TV outing for the Canterbury legends.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

The appearance of Hatfield And The North on a 1990 TV music show (Bedrock) came as much of a surprise to the band as it did to their fans, both at the time and in 1993, when this concert was first issued on CD.

The group, defunct since 1975, hastily reconvened, though without the participation of Dave Stewart. With Sophia Domancich providing keyboards instead, Pip Pyle, Phil Miller and Richard Sinclair blow the cobwebs off one or two old favourites while also grasping the unexpected invitation to tackle new material. Aside from Pyle’s penchant for smashing crockery on stage, even at their 70s peak, Hatfield weren’t an especially visual band, keeping their heads down by necessity in order to navigate the complexities of their music. On DVD they seem slightly ill at ease before the cameras, though any kind of footage of these players is a rarity and therefore welcome, no matter how circumspect. Miller is on especially good form, strangling notes while pulling suitably strangulated guitar-face expressions to match during a scorching rendition of Halfway Between Heaven And Earth. If there’s a criticism of this reconstituted quartet, it’s that they sound slightly tentative. Whereas Stewart’s keyboards rocked deep and hard into the material, the jazzier Domancich tends to skate across the surface, lending them a more ephemeral and tangential air. With only one day of rehearsals before the recording, it’s perhaps not surprising the line-up aren’t quite as played in as they might have wished. Buyer beware: although Underdub is listed on both the DVD and CD, it’s entirely absent from either disc, with the tail end of Shipwrecked being incorrectly indexed and mistitled. The video is the draw here, but best hang on to the first 1993 CD release in order to enjoy the full set as originally broadcast.

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.