28 September 2008

Careful with that sax Eugene*

Friday night served up another great night of music from Space Ritual at the 100 Club in Central London. I have seen them play there a few times now and each show is a little different so I'll start by describing what was different this time.

The band were arranged unusually in a fairly flat formation with, from left to right, Chris Mekon, Sam Ollis, Mick Slattery, Nik Turner, Terry Ollis, Jerry Richards and Thomas Crimble; almost a mirror image of their usual line-up. Eugene (from tribute band Hoaxwind) guested on sax for a couple of numbers jamming with Nik.

The lighting was from the front which meant that I could take a lot of clear pictures of the band but I did rather miss some the effects that I got with the back lighting at previous gigs. Finally, and this was probably caused by the revised formation and the fact that I was right at the front (as always) but I could hear little of the bass or keyboards.

While the little differences added interest to the gig it was the things that were the same that really mattered, i.e. fantastic music played by skilled musicians who were clearly enjoying themselves.

I again failed to note the set list but Space Ritual seem to have moved on from the album (and period) that gave them their name. The set did end with Brainstorm and Masters of the Universe but these were the exception rather than the rule and, instead, we were treated to several tracks from their recent Otherworld album, including Bubbles, Sonic Savages, Time Crime, Walking Backwards and the masterful title track, er, Otherworld.

Also most welcome were the Hawkwind tracks from the late 70s, particularly Reefer Madness and Steppenwolf, which always take me back to the time when I first started getting into Hawkwind seriously after seeing these songs performed by Bob Calvert.

To round of an excellent evening I was able to say hello to Chris Mekon before the gig (I still do not understand why setting up the electronics takes so long, don't you just switch them on?!) and to several members of Hoaxwind afterwards. These later conversations will continue next month when Hoaxwind, who live in my area, play a gig in a local pub.

There is also more Hawkwind music to come in December when Hawkwind themselves do a short tour (assuming they carry on after the sudden death of Jason Stuart) and I also hope that it is not too long before there is another Space Ritual gig in my diary too.

* Of course you knew that this is a Pink Floyd song but it was also recorded by Nik Turner for the 1995 compilation Saucerful of Pink: A Tribute to Pink Floyd.


  1. Hiya. I love Space Ritual and have seen them many times - inc. last Friday (which makes and the last three gigs at 100 club ). My fave gig there was in October 2007; for me the sound at the last two was muddy and this really took away from my enjoyment of the evening. Is this anything to do with them losing their gear or simply me standing in the wrong place and getting shit acoustics? Or are - god forbid - the band simply getting bored? I hope not as i *really* loved the last CD - so much better than anything the 'official' (sic) Hawkwind have done in years to my ears - and am already looking forward to the next. cheers, marko

  2. What a shame you missed out on the great sound of Space Ritual by taking photos!

    Always a great band for a good night of music!

  3. At all gigs there is usually a compromise to make between hearing the music and seeing the band and I almost always choose seeing the band because if I am not right at the front then I can see very little - and I like taking photos!

  4. I am tempted now. Thoughts of Essex Outerspaceways and seeing what I think was a form of ICU at one of my first ever gigs are being temporal sirens.


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