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Alan Davey's Psychedelic Warlords

Hall Of The Mountain Grill Live (London 2014)

Review by Gary Hill

Alan Davey served as the bass player in Hawkwind for many years. In 2014 he did some gigs with a band called "Psychedelic Warlords." This live album is taken from one of the shows and features Hawkind's Hall of the Mountain Grill album from start to finish. There are two tracks not included on the original studio Hawk album, too. This set works pretty well, but I'm not always taken by the vocals (by Craig High), which sometimes seem to take away from the experience by being too punky and overly theatrical. Still, this is a cool piece of space rock, and an intriguing variant on the studio album - which happens to be my all-time favorite Hawkwind album. Besides, your mileage may vary on those vocals.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke)
This powers in with a cool harder rocking sound than the studio album had. The vocals have a bit of a punky element in some ways. The instrumental movement later works so well, really capturing the sound of the original. There is a bit of a lyrical change that earns this a parental advisory as it comes out of that jam.
Wind of Change
While this song is essentially an instrumental, there are some non-lyrical vocals at the start of it. Those don't really work very well for me. Once it pounds into the harder rocking arrangement of the instrumental portion, though, this really gels. It's a powerhouse take on a classic piece of music.
D-Rider
Another energetic Hawkwind rocker, the vocals work better on this one. There is still a bit of a punk edge to it. I really enjoy this arrangement of the cut. It's reasonably faithful, but also brings a harder, rawer edge to it.
Web Weaver
A mellower space rocker, this one works pretty well. Again, I'm not completely sold on the vocals here. The instrumental jamming later in the track is particularly strong.
You'd Better Believe It
This is one of the best renditions of the set. The vocals here work better than they do a lot of places in this performance. The whole thing really rocks capturing the spirit of the original, while seeming to channel Nik Turner a bit and bringing into a more modern zone at the same time.
Hall of the Mountain Grill
The pretty keyboard-dominated space rock instrumental is delivered with style.
Lost Johnny
This is one of the real rockers of the original album. It was a Lemmy Kilmister composition. In fact, he later did it with Motorhead. These guys deliver a smoking hot version of the cut. It's even more hard rocker than it was on the studio release. This is one of the highlights of the show.
Paradox
A cool flute based section opens this, again calling to mind Nik Turner. The cut works out to a more organic version of the song than the one we get on the studio release. I'm not completely sold on the vocal performance for this number, but the track works pretty well.
It's So Easy
This was not released on the original album, but I believe it has been released on an expanded edition. I'm a big Hawkwind collector, and I know I have it on at least a couple sets. This version is strong, but the overly-theatrical vocal performance doesn't work for me at all. Still, the number rocks despite that. They really deliver some powerhouse music on the instrumental section later in the piece.
Motörhead

Here we get another song not on the original album. As you might guess, this is another Kilmister original, and another done later by his band by the same name. This is a furious and powerful performance that is among the strongest music of the disc. It's a real screamer that works well. They rock the later parts of this out so well.

 
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