PSYCHEDELIC WARLORDS – Captain Lockheed & The Starfighters Live!

Purple Pyramid 2019

Former Hawk pilots his predecessor’s concept into eternity and finds fresh way to explore its twists, turns and barrel rolls.

PSYCHEDELIC WARLORDS –
Captain Lockheed &
The Starfighters Live!

Captivating as it was, "Captain Lockheed" didn’t become the extravaganza such a slice of satire strived for – due, perhaps, to Roy Thomas-Baker’s somewhat pedestrian production that didn’t let the record breathe – and the album’s mix of music and dialogue had to be taken to the stage to take off, but while HAWKWIND included a few of its numbers in their sets over the years, the story would work only in its entirety. Which is why Alan Davey decided to translate it for a concert environment and for a unit delivery rather than theatrical show with various guests. Still, retaining almost all of the original snippets of spoken word to link the songs – although Craig High’s Scottish accent breaks him out of character when the ghosts of politicians and the Luftwaffe personnel are conjured – PSYCHEDELIC WARLORDS significantly upgraded Robert Calvert’s cult classic in 2014 and gave the tale of 40-years vintage a new tailspin.

The best example of this approach would be “The Song Of The Gremlin” – provided with a suitably histrionic voice, a bluesy hue and a synthesizer throb – that is turned into multi-dimensional contemporary dance, and “I Resign” that engages the audience just like the dirge of “Catch A Falling Starfighter” does. As a result, even non-vocal pieces need no sound effects to feel fleshed out – emotionally and in sonic terms; instead, fresh tunes emerged to fill the likes of “The Aerospaceage Inferno” which are spanked with cosmic energy and spiced with smiles. Simon Wilkins’ guitars rage, rave and rocke over the bulging groove, most impressively on the heavy glam of “The Right Stuff” and “The Widow Maker” where the singer’s sax blares to add acidity to the swells of Alan’s bass, but “Ejection” remains the infectious smash it’s always been.

This live performance is a testament to the strength of an album which didn’t attain the status it deserved and also a testimony to Davey and his band’s ability to inhabit any world – imaginary and real alike.

****4/5

Note: “Captain Lockheed” was the opening part of the concert which climaxed with a new reading of “Hall Of The Mountain Grill.”

November 22, 2019

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