Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Return of the Spacegoats!

The Assembly Rooms, Glastonbury
11th February 2017

Like a lot of people, I didn't think this would ever happen. But it did. 25 years after their formation, The Spacegoats returned for this extraordinary, magickal occasion. The original Pok/Chris/Clive/Matt lineup (missing Carrie on percussion, sadly, though new Goat-recruit Gerry filled in perfectly) plus Stella from a bit later in the band's evolution were supplemented Chris's partner Rosie on vocal harmonies and percussion and Aurelie filling in for Clive on didg (his lungs have had it, but he played percussion and sang a bit, and looked completely amazing, tribal and in his element!). So, nicely gender balanced. The event sold out, and the crowd were SO into it, that the initial problems with feedback (amplifying a hammered dulcimer isn't easy!) and the band struggling to hear each other didn't really matter. They'd asked me to do an intro as Professor Appleblossom, so I told my story of meeting the 'Goats atop Silbury Hill just after summer solstice sunrise in 1993 (they started with "Avebury Ring" which was perfect). Two long sets, and eventually the sound settled in. Such an ecstatic energy and audience-band communication, like nothing I can remember — reminded me of some older Deadheads' descriptions of Grateful Dead shows in their 70's heyday. In fact the two sets had something of the same arc as a Dead show. They took their time to settle in, played some familiar songs, got everyone going, took a break, came back for longer pieces, more spacey jams, took it out there, then encored with something Chuck Berry-inspired and a crazy dance freakout favourite...

Lots of old faces too, people I'd not seen in twenty years, people who remembered me from brief conversations at festivals...sisters Emily and Claire who'd given me a lift from Avebury to Glastonbury (or vice versa) in their camper van sometime in the late 90s... the soundman, who recognised me from pictures on the Children of the Drone website (I wasn't expecting that). Faces from the travelling and eco-protest scenes, some youngsters, kids running about, a couple of young women from Andy Letcher's new "Ecology and Spirituality" MA at Schumacher College (on a kind of research trip, but having a great time!)... someone who'd found my wallet in a Glastonbury phonebox in about '97, posted it back to me, and still remembered my face from an ID card (and the fact I'd posted her some book tokens as a thankyou).

Highlights were "Diamond Rain" in the first set. "Tears of the Goddess" (which Pok introduced as a "new" song, but I think it just never made it into the Spacegoats repertoire before), "Pixie's Jinx" (great start to the second set), "Shalom/Salaam" and the "Pat-a-Pan" encore that got everyone stomping (that was the second encore, the first being the wonderfully silly "Coming At You Now"). I should have grabbed a setlist but didn't. Too occupied talking to people (Prof A did a spontaneous little outro too — during the second set I suddenly remembered asking Pok, happily befuddled by this extraordinary entourage I'd just met in summer '93 "Who ARE you people? Where are you FROM?" and his reply: "We're the people who live at the point at the centre of the spiral!", so I related this exchange and my opinion that after such a monumental gig, I think they probably are those people.

Non-stop networking activist Phoenix was already talking about a "Tribal Reawakening Tour" by later that night, so perhaps there'll be more Spacegoat magick this summer. This one's worth lots of photos (thanks to Sammy Pea):


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