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Space☆Ritual, The 100 Club, London, May 28th 2010

June 1, 2010

Space☆Ritual (yes, they use a star) formed out of the ashes of various incarnations of Hawkwind back in 2000, but their roots go right back to the earliest days of Hawkwind in 1969. Sax player Nik Turner (pictured here, courtesy of The Suit), guitarist Mick Slattery and Terry Ollis on drums were in right from the start, and Space☆Ritual keyboard player Thomas Crimble was a member of the band from ’70-’71.

The convoluted tales of break-ups and conflict with Hawkwind founder Dave Brock are frankly too tedious to detail here, but after seeing Space☆Ritual a couple of years ago at the insistence of The Suit, I’m convinced they’re more fun than the band currently called Hawkwind – and fun is what it’s all about when it comes to urban underground space-rock. Just read the band’s ‘mission statement’ from their website:

After light years of travel through hyper-space, learning and experiencing the ancient rituals, the cosmic wheel, the hurricanes and solar winds from a far off nebulae [sic], the great shifting of astromonical tides – the vermillion deserts and jewelled forests of other planes and planets, through electric madness and asteroid storms, black holes, exploding galaxies, supernovae, red dwarfs, influence of anti-matter, fantemattir, through solar flares, past the rabbit in the moon, back again on course now through the galaxies of love and light to beam down to your beloved Terra Earth Base 1.
Returning for a rare manifestation on the material plane at a stabilised energy vibration-point near you – after their long search for intelligent life throughout the cosmos (despite some problems with some Earth cultures) but performing the ritual of uniting the tribes – all beings at different levels of sprititual developement [sic] communicate the groove, joining in the true spirit, aspiring to the flame. The bright white light, the one love, loving awareness, getting higher together, have fun, greet and meet, move seat and feet to the beat, with Space☆Ritual on tour.

Yes, they really are rather bonkers, but their space-rock, sci-fi psych-funk dance fusion is very infectious, and they started with two newer numbers, Walking Backwards and The Right Stuff, to get the crowd going. Then it was into the space nonsense, with Turner shouting out Notes From A Cold Planet, written by Michael Moorcock, author and long-time collaborator of both Hawkwind and Space☆Ritual.

After a rip-roaring Sonic Savages, it was back to the 70s with two songs written by the late, great Robert Calvert, a self-confessed ‘urban guerrilla’, gifted poet and complete fruitcake. His Co-pilots Of Spaceship Earth and Reefer Madness are both barked out by Turner with relish and after 1977’s Spirit Of The Age, Turner declaimed the creepy pseudo-government information announcement Sonic Attack, another Moorcock poem:
   Survival means every man for himself.
   Statistically more people survive if they think only of themselves.
   Do not attempt to rescue friends, relatives, or loved ones.
   You have only a few seconds to escape.
   Use those seconds sensibly or you will inevitably die.
  – Do not panic –
   Think only of yourself
   These are the first signs of Sonic Attack:
   You will notice small objects, such as ornaments, oscillating.
   You will notice a vibration in your diaphragm.
   You will hear a distant hissing in your ears.
   You will feel dizzy.
   You will feel the need to vomit…

It’s all a lot of fun, really, especially with the dancing of ‘Miss Angel’, a slightly more clad version of 70s legend Stacia, and for the last song,Hello Boys, Turner invited fan ‘Donna’ onto the stage to dance too.

I bumped into my old mate Spizz (claim to fame: his song Where’s Captain Kirk? was officially the first indie No. 1 single in the UK) and made my apologies for not being able to go to his World Cup punk gig extravaganza thing at the 100 Club on June 19th. Go here for the info and give Spizz a shout for me.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2010 2:42 pm

    Brilliant – space rockin indeed. Better than the current Hawkwind?

  2. brandnewguy permalink*
    June 3, 2010 3:10 pm

    I think they’re better. It’s the fun element that I like and which makes it more of a party atmosphere.

  3. Lost permalink
    June 7, 2010 6:49 am

    They are OK, but musically nowhere near as good as Hawkwind– and most of the songs were co-written by Dave Brock, which is ironic.

  4. brandnewguy permalink*
    June 7, 2010 7:53 am

    @Lost, you’re right on both counts, but it’s the *fun* element I emphasised. If it comes down to a question of which band you’d like to spend an evening with, the answer’s not so clear… and I’m always wary of questions of how ‘good’ rock/pop artists are musically. Jeff Beck is technically far superior to Neil Young, but I know who I’d want to avoid like the plague 😉

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