Live: The Hawklords

Hastings... the final frontier.

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In the week that news breaks of the Sex Pistols credit card, it’s easy to think that rock’n’roll’s rebellious spirit has finally been crushed by its corporate paymasters.

However, on the South Coast, some gnarled veterans of the resistance are determined to prove the counter-culture isn’t over yet. Like an acid-fried Gandalf surrounded by keyboards, Harvey Bainbridge unleashes a torrent of electronic burbles to signal tonight’s show is about to begin.

He’s been touring with various incarnations of the band since 1978, and you can tell. The sound is crystal clear, the psychedelic visuals so eye-popping it feels like you’ve landed in Roger Corman’s cult flick The Trip. Combining Hawkwind favourites (Spirit Of The Age, Master Of The Universe, Uncle Sam’s On Mars) with tracks from latest album Censored, the effect is hypnotic, largely thanks to frontman Ron Tree.

Skinnier than Iggy, shaggier than Jagger and as unholy as Bowie at his most debauched, he’s the ghost of frontmen past come back to haunt its future. Alternately clutching at the air, swatting imaginary flies and giving the impression he’s been beamed from a techno all-nighter from 1993, he’s provided with the perfect foil by deadpan guitarist Jerry Richards.

”You’re lucky to live by the sea,” he muses, before plunging into Elemental Mind. When you’re as far out as The Hawklords, it must be nice to touch down on terra firma occasionally. Earth gig of the week.

Classic Rock 214: Lives

Paul Moody is a writer whose work has appeared in the Classic Rock, NME, Time Out, Uncut, Arena and the Guardian. He is the co-author of The Search for the Perfect Pub and The Rough Pub Guide.