Review of Day 2 at the first Strange Daze, 31 August 1997, Sherman, New York.


Day 2 of the most incredible space rock festival ever:

Lemmy didn't make it, but Nik Turner did play onstage with HW. More on that in my review of Hawkwind...

The morning opened up with Bionaut, apparently a synth-based offshoot of ArcMet. This was mellow, pleasing music, just what was needed to wake the folks up gently.

Next came Nick Riff. Not my style really, more of a pop singer with a rock backup band. His tunes were nice and catchy, and I caught myself singing along with them before his set was done. (that is usually a *bad* thing for me).

Melting Euphoria was a band I really wanted to see. Their first two albums are incredible Ozrics-like space-synth jamming, and from an American band no less! The third album didn't do much for me, but there is a brand new one just out in the last two weeks that may be different. I didn't know what to expect really.

M.E. came on as a four piece, with 2 guitars + drums + synth. This band really rocked out, with much less apparent synth than appears on their polished-production CDs. Unfortunately, they hadn't played more than 20mins when a rain came down that caused them to stop. When the rain let up, they were able to play maybe another 10-15 mins, but this just wasn't enough to do justice to this excellent band.

Born To Go came out. Their lead singer was an english fellow, who rapped with the audience a bit before and between songs. These guys don't have as much SPACE in their SPACE ROCK as some of the other bands at this festival, but their attitude is definitely in the right place. IMHO the music needs more of a synth sound, or more tonality in the lead guitar perhaps, but the lyrics are dead-on SciFi/technology stuff. Their influences are good ones. Born To Go also deserves credit for having been a vocal proponent on the net for the Strange Daze fest.

(I forgot to get my free drink from the lead singer following their set. They did a song called "Kill -9", and the singer offered a "..free drink at the bar for anyone who knows what this means!". I knew those years of college would amount to something!)

Quarkspace was a band I missed seeing, although they sounded pretty good from where I sat out their set. They had a more complex, structured sound, with numerous layered instruments, kind of mid-tempo. I kept wishing could get up and go see this band I was hearing, but my tent was full of partying people at that moment so I missed out.

Alien Planetscapes came out and seemed to do a similar set to the one they'd used Friday nite when they also opened for HW. Their sound is really good, with a good mix of synths and guitars with other instruments for accent. Their new CD was available at both shows, but unfortunately I missed picking one up.

See my review of Hawkwind.



SCATTERED THOUGHTS:

The entire festival went off on-schedule, with all bands starting and stopping close to the published time. There was absolutely no police or security presence at the fest, just a lot of well- behaved hippies having a tripping good time. I witnessed not a single fight, there was a food stand selling (ONLY) veggie burgers and tea, there was a real bar selling booze and beer, and you could buy a wellbarrow full of wood for a campfire for the measely fee of $5.

The weather was warm during the day, with a brief rain shower on Sat morn and late Sat afternoon, and wet fog on Sat night. Temp seemed to drop into the low 50s F (maybe hi 40s?).

Most bands camped out at the festival, and the guy on stage was frequently the guy standing next to you when the next band came on. Band members from all bands appeared accessible throughout the event.

Hawkwind arrived late in the day on Saturday, and were seen walking around the area checking things out. Supposedly Dave wandered past each and every campsite, to see what was up and how things were. My guess is that he was impressed by the American take on throwing a campout hippie festival. Dave is reported to have volunteered to come back again and play future Strange Daze-type festivals, if they become regular events.

On Saturday afternoon a Militant Nudist on Acid was spotted yelling and ranting "Take off your clothes. You must be free!". He was tripping VERY hard, and (from earlier discussions) appeared to be a nudist down for the camping, without any background on Hawkwind. Reportedly he ran up to Dave during his wandering, until Dave was able to escape him. Eventually this fellow's girlfriend showed up, calmed him down and dressed him, and tucked him away in their tent.

There was a large bonfire and drum circle on Sat nite following the Nikwind show. Naked pagans and stoned hippies clustered around the "wooden stonehenge" area where the huge fire was burning, trying to warm themselves and dance out their trips. Way cool, with several HW members observing.

The guys in Farflung were running a table selling CDs and T-shirts. The T-shirts included an alternate Strange Daze with the legend "Nik Turner and Farflung as The Sons of Cydonia", as well as several "NEU!" and "Faust" shirts. Tommy was wearing a "NEU!".

I heard no explanation as to why Pressurehed had been unable to make the show.

There were at least 4 video cameras going at all times, and scattered tape recorders all over the place. Absolutely no effort was made to restrict any recording of any kind at the festival.

There was a large truck containing a 24-track recorder dubbing the Hawkwind set, and probably the entire show. Good chance that there might be a CD coming out of this event.

I never did see the fellow giving away copies of the "Space Rock Manifesto" which I'd heard advertised. Wonder what that was about..?

Bob Lennon was distributing copies of Hawk-U.S. #6, which came with a floppy containing a dozen JPEGs of HW from the 1995 tour (I believe) and a small color photo of a freaky looking space rock terrarium.

I picked up a 'zine called "The Hipster" that contained an interview with Dave Brock this past winter.

There are rumors of an Amon Duul II / ArcMet / Melting Euphoria tour coming up in the US.

The new HW album has been completed and mixed, except for one song and finishing the artwork. I didn't get a title, but the band played a tape of it to some of the folks at Lascko's house following the Ohio show. The release date is supposedly in October 97.

Great folks that I met during the show included Chris Raymond (you're probably on that video of Nik's "HW encore"), Rick and Steve, Pierre and Bruce from Texas, Eli Friedman and Jim Lascko (incredible people who thru this bash), Sade the Witch Doktressa, Steve Lindsey, Damon Capehart, Bob Lennon and Hobbit, Chris and Mary Bruce, Kevin Sommers, Mike Habiby, and Zendog. And most thanks to Doug Bates, for all the tremendous help he gave me and a place to crash.



Captain Cloud