1 April 2009

Space Ritual at Hootananny Brixton

In many ways this was an unusual Space Ritual gig; it was a late addition to their schedule following the rescheduling of the Hawklords event, it was held in a pub in Brixton (an area of London normally associated with words like "riot" and "shooting"), Sam Ollis was missing, and it finished not long before 2am on the morning that the clocks went forward stealing an hour's sleep.

However, the music and the mood were reassuringly familiar.

I would like to get a few live recordings to compare the Space Ritual sound but I get the distinct impression that this year they have become less rocky and more jazzy (well, not jazz obviously as I cannot stand jazz and I love Space Ritual).

The songs are more fluid and the delivery of some of them is quite different, tonight's rendition of Reefer Madness for instance was sung very differently.

This slight change of mood is reflected in the recent changes in the set list which is seeing less of the original Hawkwind material and while Hawkwind songs still feature prominently in the set they are mostly from the Bob Calvert Space Poet era, which is absolutely fine with me!

And Space Ritual are still spacey thanks to the incessant twiddling (or whatever it is that he does) by Chris Mekon.

Chris was also made more visible by having a light shining directly on him all evening.

The loser here was Mick Slattery (guitar) who was deprived of light due to the positioning of the monitors and so is missing from these photos.

Jerry Richards (bass) normally hides in the dark, and dresses for it too, but his increasing vocal role brought him to the front enough to be captured on film.

Similarly Thomas Crimble (keyboards) is often forced to play side on but here he had enough space to face the front and to participate fully in the singing duties.

Terry Ollis (drums) sits right at the back and does not expect to be photographed!

The Fabulous Ms Angel does get photographed a lot, particularly when wearing her angel outfit that has been sadly missed at recent gigs.

The crowd also had many of the usual faces and it was good to spend some time with Joanne and Melissa (who had also been at the Wishbone Ash gig the previous night).

But, it's the music that really matters and Space Ritual were absolutely fabulous. There was a slight stumble over the set list in the middle and one of the regular drunks was a little annoying but these were only minor distractions in an excellent two hour set performed excellently and when they closed with the twin classics Brainstorm and Master of the Universe we were all dancing, singing and very happy.

I thought that their previous gig at the 100 Club was their best ever and this was almost as good.

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