Sunday, November 23, 2008

Space Ritual in Westgate-on-Sea

An unexpected gig in Nik Turner's hometown of Westgate-on-Sea (now on the periphery of the Margate sprawl), Friday 22nd November - St. Cecilia's day, amusingly (and the 40th anniversary of the White Album release).

A carload of us arrived in time to catch the second support act - the almost unbelievably awful "Proton Drive", a guitarist and drummer playing ineffectually over their new sci-fi concept album. This set lasted far too long and ended with the solemn declaration "We have returned to Mother Earth...the inner planets have been conquered...and if you enjoyed this trip, come and see us afterwards, we've got CD's for sale" (!) Worst thing I've seen in ages.

I got a chance to chat with Nik Turner for a little while, thanking him for putting together that recent Calvert memorial event in Herne Bay - really friendly, just delighted to still be playing music and making people happy. On his way from West Wales he'd been at a Mutoid Waste Company exhibit in East London (friends of his) and a retrospective exhibition of Hawkwind's graphic artist Barney Bubbles' work. BB died recently, and Nik informed me of a memorial concert for him - a performance of the full Space Ritual live experience at The Roundhouse in London (Sunday, March 8th next year).

St. Cecila - painting by Guido ReniNik Turner, elsewhere
St. Cecila; St. Nik

The SR lineup was Turner on vocals, flute and sax, Thomas Crimble (an early Hawkwind bassist) playing Hammond, Mick Slattery (original '69 Hawkwind guitarist - looking impossibly young), Jerry Richards (90's Hawkwind guitarist playing bass and looking cool), classic period drummer Terry Ollis, and someone called Chris Mekon (not one of The Mekons, confusingly) on squelchy analogue electronic noises. They rocked, as we expected. The audience wasn't particularly kinetic, but it was appreciative. Lots of lesser (in my opinion) Hawkwind material ("The Right Stuff", "Watching the Grass Grow", "Steppenwolf", "Reefer Madness") was mixed in with new material, as well as Irving (Ivan?) the Bard coming up from the merchandising stall to recite "10 Seconds of Forever" and a re-working of the largely spoken-word "Standing on the Edge" (from Warriors on the Edge of Time). But the choice of songs didn't matter greatly, as they managed to get a decent jam inside each one, lots of room for Nik to do his thing on sax/flute. A great overall sound, infused with a real sense of enthusiasm and fun. They saved the really classic stuff ("D-Rider", a masterful "Master of the Universe" - lyrics slightly re-written - and a barnstorming "Brainstorm" to close). Quite a long set, and thoroughly enjoyed by all in our entourage.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

is that shot of nik from friday night???

10:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew Watkins said...

No, some earlier occasion. He was dressed fairly 'respectably' on Friday (a sort of mauve silk suit)!

9:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home